This quantum computing chip was built one atom at a time

Researchers from the University of Melbourne have created a quantum chip by placing phosphorus on a silicon wafer atom by atom.

Published Jan 13, 2022 4:00 AM CST   |   Updated Tue, Feb 8 2022 9:05 PM CST
1 minute & 2 seconds read time

A research article on the making of the chip was published in the journal Advanced Materials.

A team of researchers led by the University of Melbourne used a technique to implant singular phosphorus atoms onto a silicon wafer. Previously, embedding atoms in silicon has involved showering a wafer with phosphorus, becoming implanted randomly across it.

"We embedded phosphorus ions, precisely counting each one, in a silicon substrate creating a qubit 'chip," which can then be used in lab experiments to test designs for large scale devices," said Professor David Jamieson of The University of Melbourne, lead author of the paper.

The team's vision is for the technique to be scaled up to produce significantly larger-scale quantum devices. Their technique involves a precise atomic force microscope, able to position itself with the accuracy of only half a nanometer.

"This will allow us to engineer the quantum logic operations between large arrays of individual atoms, retaining highly accurate operations across the whole processor. Instead of implanting many atoms in random locations and selecting the ones that work best, they will now be placed in an orderly array, similar to the transistors in conventional semiconductors computer chips," said Andrea Morello of the University of New South Wales, a joint author of the paper.

You can read more from the article here.

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Adam grew up watching his dad play Turok 2 and Age of Empires on a PC in his computer room, and learned a love for video games through him. Adam was always working with computers, which helped build his natural affinity for working with them, leading to him building his own at 14, after taking apart and tinkering with other old computers and tech lying around. Adam has always been very interested in STEM subjects, and is always trying to learn more about the world and the way it works.

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