Are Silicon Quantum Computers Possible, Even Probable?

Researchers have always looked on using silicon-based quantum computer as a bit of a holy grail.

First, we’re intimately familiar with silicon–it’s at the core of our current classic computing technology. Second, since silicon is relatively plentiful, it would be cheap and ubiquitous.

Now, word from a team of researchers at the University of New South Wales indicates that silicon-based quantum computers have taken a step closer.

The team of scientists and engineers has developed one of the key building blocks needed to make a quantum computer using silicon: a “single electron reader.” This technology can read the “spin” (magnetic orientation) of an individual electron in silicon. The “spin” represents a data state, quite similar to reading a bit in a binary computer.

The team has been working on this for ten years and have published their findings in Nature.

Even though this still puts silicon-based quantum computing at “years away,” the progress we’re making on QC is undeniable. Quantum computing, once forecast to still be 50 or 100 years in our future, looks achievable much sooner.

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