Andrea Morello: Quantum computing becomes more than just spin

People have speculated about the potential of quantum computers for decades—how they would make child’s play of constructing and testing new drugs, searching through huge amounts of data and ensuring security of information.

Andrea Morello. Credit: Prime Minister’s Prizes for Science/Bearcage

This scenario may be coming true in a high-tech basement at the University of New South Wales.

Andrea Morello and his colleagues at the ARC Centre of Excellence for quantum Computation and Communication Technology are developing the building blocks of a quantum computer, and they expect to build a working prototype within a few years. What’s more, it will be constructed out of the same inexpensive, abundant material used to build classical computers—silicon. Their studies place Australia in the lead in the race to construct one of the game-changing technologies of this century.

For his intellectual leadership in developing the silicon components to make quantum computing possible, Andrea was awarded the 2013 Malcolm McIntosh Prize for Physical Scientist of the year.

Assisted by colleague Andrew Dzurak and others, Andrea has shown how to read information from and write information to the spin of a single electron, and now to an even more reliable single phosphorus nucleus.

Photo: Andrea Morello
Credit: Prime Minister’s Prizes for Science/Bearcage