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Old-Fashioned Silicon Might Be the Key to Building Ubiquitous Quantum Computers


Production and clean-room facilities in Intels plant in Hillsboro, OR.

Intel says the development of silicon-based qubits could make it easier to scale quantum computers to the millions of qubits required to produce a truly practical commercial system.

Credit: Intel

Scientists are investigating silicon as a key ingredient in the creation of scalable quantum computers.

Researchers at Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands and the University of Wisconsin–Madison (UW Madison) say they have programmed a 2-quantum bit (qubit) machine based on spin qubits to execute algorithms that are usually employed to test the effectiveness of quantum machines. UW Madison's Thomas Watson believes silicon-based systems could ultimately enable denser qubit packing than other approaches, and thus boost machines' computational power.

Meanwhile, a team from Princeton University, the University of Konstanz in Germany, and the Joint Quantum Institute have detailed a method for using microwave photons to help couple distant silicon-based qubits.

Intel thinks milestones such as these should help make it easier to scale quantum computers to the millions of qubits required to produce a truly practical commercial system, and it has been supporting researchers working on silicon-based quantum technology.

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