Quantum Computers a Step Closer After Breakthrough

Researchers have generated 10 billion bits of quantum entanglement in silicon for the first time, pushing the world closer to quantum computing.

Entanglement between the electron and the nucleus of an atom is a key part of making quantum computers and researchers have done just that in an atom of phosphorous embedded in a silicon crystal.

Scientists from Oxford University worked with researchers from Japan, Canada and Germany to manage "spins" - when an electron and the nucleus act as a tiny magnet. Each spin can represent a bit of quantum information.

Quantum entanglement is when particles are connected so that altering the state of one instantly affects the other, even if they are far away from each other.

"The key to generating entanglement was to first align all the spins by using high magnetic fields and low temperatures," explained Stephanie Simmons of Oxford University's department of materials and first author of the report.

"Once this has been achieved, the spins can be made to interact with each other using carefully timed microwave and radiofrequency pulses in order to create the entanglement, and then prove that it has been made."

Creating quantum computers would be able to solve problems that today's systems are unable to cope with, scientists believe.

For instance, quantum computers would be able to find the primes of large numbers - an important area for cryptography.

"Creating 10 billion entangled pairs in silicon with high fidelity is an important step forward for us,' said co-author of the study Dr John Morton of Oxford University's Department of Materials who led the team.

"We now need to deal with the challenge of coupling these pairs together to build a scalable quantum computer in silicon."

Read on to learn more about where quantum computing could take the world.

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