Intel develops a silicon-based spin qubit chip

Intel develops a silicon-based spin qubit chip

There is still going to be a long road ahead before we see a quantum chip become commercially available, but from the sounds of it, Intel's latest developments are promising.

The development is meant to tackle problems that today's conventional computers can't handle, using quantum computing to speed advancements in areas like chemistry or drug development, financial modeling, and even climate forecasting. Another team, led by Professor Jason Petta from Princeton University in the USA, was able to transfer the state of the spin of an electron suspended in silicon onto a single photon of light. But the chip giant states that while there's been significant progress, quantum computing research is still nascent. They can also function at higher temperatures, 1 kelvin rather than 20 milikelvin, which in theory makes working with a quantum computer a lot more practical, particularly as control electronics can be placed closer to the quantum processor. However, they deliver quantum power by leveraging the spin of a single electron on a silicon device and controlling the movement to create tiny microwave pulses.

Electrons can spin in different directions. When the electron spins down, the data signifies the binary value 0.

The use of spin qubits could help bring the concept of quantum computing from research to reality. Any noise or unintended observation of them can cause data loss. And superconducting qubits are pretty big and are normally found in systems the size of a 55-gallon drum.

QuTech, one of the research groups, released a paper detailing its success in creating a two-qubit spin-based quantum computer on a silicon chip, that can be programmed to perform two simple quantum algorithms. But advances like these will pave the way for the creation of larger spin-based processors capable of more complex applications, Intel noted in a news post, and ultimately be used for specialized workloads.

To support research into Spin qubits architecture, Intel has invented a spin qubit fabrication flow on its 300mm process technology.

A related Nature article, has been published. These wafers are now being tested and within a few months time, Intel expects to be ramping up production, with many wafers coming each week containing thousands of small qubit arrays.

Sourced specifically for the production of spin-qubit test chips and fabricated in the same facility as Intel's advanced transistor technologies, Intel's newly developed isotopically pure wafers are expected to be produced on a weekly basis from now on, each with thousands of small qubit arrays.

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