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Future quantum computing could exploit old technology

Modified silicon transistors perform basic logic tasks

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2:17pm, October 9, 2015
electrons

QUANTUM ELECTRONICS  A new quantum logic gate in silicon manipulates the spins (arrows) of a pair of electrons (red and blue), as shown in this illustration.

Silicon transistors have been converted into the basic components of a quantum computer.

Using modified versions of transistors used in smartphones, tablets and desktop computers, Australian engineers have built the first quantum logic gate in silicon for performing quantum computations. The gate, described October 5 in Nature, uses the value of one quantum bit within a transistor to determine whether to change the value of a quantum bit in another transistor. The researchers say they have demonstrated all the fundamental components needed to build a silicon-based quantum computer, which could swiftly perform tasks like factoring large numbers and searching huge datasets.

Other researchers say that while the silicon work is an impressive physics feat, engineers pursuing alternate quantum computing platforms are farther along and years ago demonstrated gates that manipulate two quantum bits, or qubits. But

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