University of Bristol Researchers Light the Way to Mass Manufactured Quantum Chips

I’m willing to bet most people don’t really understand quantum mechanics. Nobel Laureate Dr. Richard Feynman is attributed with the saying, “If you think you understand quantum mechanics, you don’t understand quantum mechanics.” None of that keeps us from thinking practical applications from the field are interesting.

A team of researchers led by experts at the University of Bristol’s Centre for Quantum Photonics believe they have overcome a serious obstacle in the path of quantum computing with the development of silicon-based quantum chips.

Quantum Chip

University of Bristol's quantum chip next to a 20 pence coin. Courtesy of the University of Bristol.

“Using silicon to manipulate light, we have made circuits over 1,000 times smaller than current glass-based technologies,” said Mark Thompson, deputy director of the Centre for Quantum Photonics. “It will be possible to mass-produce this kind of chip using standard microelectronic techniques, and the much smaller size means it can be incorporated in to technology and devices that would not previously have been compatible with glass chips.”

Silicon is routinely used to create the processors for mobile devices and other modern technologies. The difference between a standard silicon chip and a quantum chip is in how data is transmitted. Instead of relaying an electrical current, the quantum chip uses photons to perform calculations.

“This is very much the start of a new field of quantum-engineering, where state-of-the-art micro-chip manufacturing techniques are used to develop new quantum technologies and will eventually realize quantum computers that will help us understand the most complex scientific problems,” added Thompson.

Another potential benefit for quantum computing is an increase in security. Engineering on the Edge previously looked at this possibility for securing the cloud.

Below you’ll find a video that discusses how quantum computing could be used for security purposes.

Source: University of Bristol

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