Researchers from the University of Adelaide claim they are one-step closer to bring reliable, high-performance quantum computing to the world over.
By developing what they are calling a "ground-breaking single-electron pump" device, the researchers say their invention is able to produce one billion electrons per second and uses quantum mechanics to control them one-by-one.
Apparently, it's so precise that they have been able to use this device to measure the limitations of current electronics equipment, which they say will pave the way for future quantum information processing applications, including in defence, cybersecurity and encryption, and big data analysis.
"This research puts us one step closer to the holy grail - reliable, high-performance quantum computing," said project leader Dr Giuseppe Tettamanzi, who is also a senior research fellow at the university's Institute for Photonics and Advanced Sensing.
Published in the journal Nano Letters, the researchers also report observations of electron behaviour that's never been seen before - a key finding for those around the world working on quantum computing.
"Quantum computing, or more broadly quantum information processing, will allow us to solve problems that just won't be possible under classical computing systems," said Tettamanzi.
"It operates at a scale that's close to an atom and, at this scale, normal physics goes out the window and quantum mechanics comes into play.
"To indicate its potential computational power, conventional computing works on instructions and data written in a series of 1s and 0s - think about it as a series of on and off switches; in quantum computing every possible value between 0 and 1 is available."
They will then be able to increase exponentially the number of calculations that can be done simultaneously, he said.
The researchers' final goal is to provide a flow of electrons that are reliable, continuous and consistent - and in this research, they claim to have managed to move a big step towards realistic quantum computing.
"And, maybe equally exciting, along the way we have discovered new quantum effects never observed before, where, at specific frequencies, there is competition between different states for the capture of the same electrons. This observation will help advances in this game-changing field," Tettamanzi added.
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