Tag Archives: quantum computers

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.

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Computing with a single electron

Australian engineers and physicists have developed a ‘single electron reader’, one of the key building blocks needed to make a quantum computer.

Computing with a single electron
Andrew Dzurak (left), Andrea Morello and their colleagues have read the spin of a single electron. Credit: UNSW
Quantum computers will use the spin, or magnetic orientation, of individual electrons for their calculations. And, because of the quantum nature of electrons, quantum computers could be exponentially faster at certain tasks than traditional computers.

In order to employ electron spin, a quantum computer needs both a way of changing the spin state (writing information) and of measuring that change (reading information). Together these two form a quantum bit or qubit – the equivalent of the bit in a conventional computer.
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