Engineers based at the University of New South Wales (UNSW) have published a research paper that includes ‘blueprints’ for a quantum computer chip architecture that allows quantum calculations to be performed using existing semiconductor components. “Millions of qubits” can be leveraged in these CMOS designs, say the researchers. Importantly, the designs are claimed to be ready, bar a few expected modifications, for a modern semiconductor manufacturing plant.
We have seen reports of plenty of quantum computer prototype components here in the HEXUS news, in recent years and months. One of the most recent stories concerned the 20 qubit IBM Q System going online, with a 50 qubit model being readied in the background. However, the UNSW research is exciting to hear about, as its spin qubit approach can utilise modern semiconductor manufacturing techniques, and offers impressive scalability.
Andrew Dzurak and and Dr Menno Veldhorst published the paper which describes how to use conventional silicon tech to control and read millions of qubits on a single chip. Millions. Remember that this is a blueprint, and the UNSW has only so far taken “baby steps” with the first demonstrations of how to use “conventional silicon transistor switches to 'turn on' operations between qubits in a vast two-dimensional array, using a grid-based 'word' and 'bit' select protocol similar to that used to select bits in a conventional computer memory chip”. Because of the fragility of qubits the UNSW blueprint incorporates a new type of error-correcting code designed specifically for spin qubits.
Before we get the millions of qubit chips mentioned above, there are several scientific and manufacturing hurdles yet to be negotiated, said to be “a hell of a challenge… but the groundwork is there”. TheUNSW team have taken on a contract to develop a 10-qubit prototype silicon quantum integrated circuit by 2022. It is this component which will be central to building the world's first quantum computer in silicon, reports Phys.org.