Groundbreaking development of Ultra-Pure Silicon Chips could change everything

Groundbreaking development of Ultra-Pure Silicon Chips could change everything

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Groundbreaking development of Ultra-Pure Silicon Chips could change everything
Groundbreaking development of Ultra-Pure Silicon Chips could change everything
Groundbreaking development of Ultra-Pure Silicon Chips could change everything

The Universities of Melbourne and Manchester have collaborated to develop an ultra-pure Silicon chip for quantum computing. This breakthrough research could enhance the potential for the production of scalable and accurate quantum computers as this method enhances quantum coherence, notably minimizing computing errors and enabling complex calculations that surpass those achievable by traditional computers. 

The Project co-supervisor Professor David Jamieson, from the University of Melbourne said that the use of Phosphorus atoms qubits in crystals of pure Silicon could extend the duration of fragile quantum coherence leading to high error reduction in quantum computers. The outcome of this will be that Quantum computers will be able to solve problems in hours or minutes that would take classical computers or supercomputers centuries to solve.

This innovation was published on the 7th of May 2024 in Communication Materials, a Nature journal. University of Manchester’s Professor Richard Curry who is a Co-supervisor stated that this would allow the construction of high-performance qubit devices which is relevant for the production of quantum computers.

In classical computers, electronic chips that are made up of billions of transistors are used as processors and this is evident in personal computers (PCs) used every day across the world. With the introduction of an ultra-pure silicon chip, electronic chips can be made and this could introduce a pathway for mass production of quantum computers. The advantages here are enormous and the possibilities are potentially limitless.

The challenge before now has been a way to keep the purity of the silicon at very low temperatures and that has limited the progress in the application of silicon chips for quantum computing. The breakthrough in this research will now open doors for other applications in industries ranging from artificial intelligence to drug discovery, to energy, to manufacturing and logistics, and so on. It could be a game-changer in the long run.

Professor Jamieson shared that the process of purification was to put a high-speed beam of silicon-28 which is a pure isotope of Silicon on the Silicon chip that also had Silicon-29 (an impure isotope of Silicon) with a 4.95% concentration. The introduction of the pure beam gradually erased the impure one and replaced it until the impure Silicon was reduced to 0.0002% concentration thereby achieving a pure Silicon isotope. This process, according to Professor Jamieson, can be achieved at any semiconductor fabrication lab but would need to be done with a configuration defined by his team.

The potential of the findings from this research cannot be overstated because if it gains widespread adoption, then jobs will be created within this field, and that will contribute to the economies of the countries that adopt it. The power of quantum computing is directly proportional to its processing power which is why this research is deeply exciting so while other alternatives are being explored, this is a good option to realize the potential of quantum computing, albeit not the only methodology being tested. There is also the chance that they may eventually realize a way to keep the quantum coherence for as long as possible to infinitely reduce the errors in quantum computers.

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