Scientists at three universities – including two in Australia – have created what they claim to be the world’s largest quantum circuit board, an essential component in high-powered laser light computers.
The collaboration between the University of Sydney, the University of Tokyo, and the Australian National University has seen the largest number of quantum systems brought together in a single component jump from 14 to 10,000, an increase of three orders of magnitude over the nearest competing design.
“The transistor, invented in the mid-1940s, replaced vacuum tubes in ordinary computers with components that can be mass produced,” said Dr Nicolas Menicucci from the University of Sydney’s School of Physics, who proposed the experimental design.
“The scalability afforded by transistors enabled the explosion in computing technology we’ve seen in the last 65 years. Similarly, this breakthrough promises scalable design of laser-light quantum computing hardware,” he said.
Working quantum computers, which one scientist believes will be commercially available in 20 years, would exploit the properties of quantum physics, enabling scientists to solve the most difficult computational problems, which are beyond the capabilities of existing supercomputers.
“Huge advances in telecommunications, physics and counterintelligence are possible when we have devices with such immense computational power,” said Dr Menicucci.
“The two main obstacles to creating quantum computers are the precise control of tiny quantum systems and the issue of scalability, which is the ability to make bigger and bigger quantum computers out of small parts,” he said.
“We have made a breakthrough in scalability for the basic ‘circuit board’ of a quantum computer made out of laser light.”
However, to take advantage of this breakthrough in scalability, further discoveries will need to be made around precise control of these devices, Dr Menicucci said.
The research was published today in Nature Photonics.