Quantum computing promises quantum computing, which will allow for incredible leaps in speed and efficiency in computation. Although the idea is well-known for decades, it’s still a huge engineering challenge to put the concept into practice. Researchers from the University of South Wales Sydney claim they have found the missing piece to improve the architecture of quantum computing chip architectures.
Missing Jigsaw Piece
Current approaches to quantum computing use quantum bits or qubits. The problem is that wires can only control qubits. These wires take up space on the chips and generate heat.
Dr. Jarryd Pla, the lead author of this study, stated that controlling electron spin qubits was based on delivering a microwave magnetic field by running a current through a wire near the qubit. This poses real challenges if we scale up to the millions upon millions of qubits that a Quantum Computer will need to solve globally significant problems such as the design and manufacture of vaccines.
Pla’s team thought of creating a magnetic field above the chip using wires instead of wires. First, we took out the wire near the qubits. Then, we came up with a new way to distribute microwave-frequency magnetic control fields across the entire system. Pla stated that control fields could be delivered to as many as four million qubits in principle. There are two important innovations in this. First, we don’t need to use much power to generate a strong driving force for the qubits. This is crucial because it means that we don’t produce much heat. The second is that the field is uniform across the chip, so millions of qubits have the same level of control.
The team created a prototype and tested it with qubits. Andrew Dzurak, a college professor, said that the experiment was a success. “The problem of controlling millions of qubits was something that I had been worried about for some time. It was a significant roadblock to building a quantum computer on a large scale.”
This roadblock has been cleared, and the next step will be to use this technology to create simpler silicon quantum processing units. This will allow for more qubits to be produced in the future, according to the researchers. Pla stated that while there are still engineering issues to solve before processors with millions of qubits can be produced, he is excited that he now has a way to control them.
Science Advances published the research.