Scientists have been trying for a long time now to get the atomic nuclei embedded in Silicon to work as Quantum bits or qubits for use in a super-powerful Quantum Computer. This was thought to be achievable through manipulative Magnetic fields, but now, researchers in Australia have stumbled across a way to control such a nucleus with more manageable electric fields. This could mean that we will be able to control the qubits correspondingly as transistors.
The workings of a normal computer are quite easy to understand; it works by flipping bits from 1 to 0 and vice versa. A Quantum computer employs qubits that can be set to either 0,1 or both at the same time. This allows for the Quantum computer to perform a huge number of calculations simultaneously. This generally translates into the real world as Quantum computers being able to perform operations much more complex than conventional computers.
The current generation of Quantum computers face a very dire problem, that of scaling. Currently, Google’s best Quantum computer, having 53 qubits inside that perform the computations, needs a large refrigeration unit named as dilution refrigerator to be able to run as the circuit needs superconductors to be able to make them behave as qubits. Google researchers think that they will be able to fit a thousand qubits in one dilution refrigerator. This is still way less than what a full-fledged Quantum computer is imagined to be, that is, millions of qubits.
To solve this very problem, in 1998, Bruce Kane, thought up a more compact technology with individual Phosphorous atoms embedded in Silicon and placed in a Magnetic field. The problem with this approach is that the Magnetic field tends to spill out and interfere with other atoms. This problem is what the Australian researchers seem to have solved by using electric fields. As this method is tested and adopted, we will be able to see the positive impact this innovation has on the world of Quantum computing.