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New Advances in Hole-Spin Qubits

Researchers have made a significant breakthrough in quantum computing by demonstrating a controllable interaction between a new type of qubits inside a standard silicon transistor. And this is potentially huge.

Researchers worldwide are engaged in a competitive race to develop practical quantum computers, exploring a diverse array of qubit technologies. To date, no single qubit technology has emerged as the definitive solution. Each approach is struggling with achieving both, the speed and fidelity required for quantum computers to achieve quantum supremacy. The future of quantum computing hinges on the ability to manage stable and fast interactions among multiple qubits, whose states can be reliably controlled externally. For quantum computers to reach their full potential, they must accommodate millions of qubits on a single chip. Currently, even the most advanced quantum computers, with only a thousand or so qubits, are limited to tasks that classical computers can often perform more quickly.

In a paper “Anisotropic exchange interaction of two hole-spin qubits” just published in Nature Physics, researchers from the University of Basel and IBM Research-Zurich demonstrate how they achieved two hole-spin qubits controlled rotation gates without a trade-off between speed and fidelity, all in a silicon fin field-effect transistor (FinFET).

A hole is essentially a missing electron in a semiconductor, and like electrons, holes have spin, which can be up or down. This spin state can represent quantum information. Hole-spin qubits are promising because they can be controlled entirely by electrical means, making them easier to integrate into existing semiconductor technologies. And with this paper, the researchers showed that they can control the behaviour externally.

The other significant aspect of this research was that it was performed in silicon fin field-effect transistor (FinFET), the workhorse device of today’s semiconductor industry. Because it uses existing semiconductor manufacturing processes, it makes it more feasible to scale up the technology. By leveraging the established infrastructure of the semiconductor industry, the path to practical and large-scale quantum computers becomes clearer.

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