University of NSW develop a quantum bit using the nucleus of an atom

From the University of New South Wales (UNSW): engineers have been able to use the nucleus of an atom as the basis for a quantum bit (or qubit) the fundamental unit of quantum computing.

Artist’s impression of a single phosphorus atom, placed in the vicinity of a silicon transistor.

Why is this important?

  • Quantum computing means a potentially massive (like, exponentiallymassive) increase in computing speed and capacity.
  • This UNSW experiment was done in fairly normal conditions, with solid-state devices and normal silicon circuitry. Qubits with similar accuracy in the past have required very specialised conditions: atoms in a vacuum suspended in a magnetic field, for instance.

So the real breakthrough here is the practicality by which they were able to achieve their quantum computing result. It’s one step closer to being able to deliver quantum computing on a practical scale. Remember, the regular computers we’re familiar with used to weigh many tons and fill entire rooms. Quantum computing will likely go through a similar process.

You can read the media release or get even more background info about quantum computing from the UNSW.