Scientists’ accidental discovery brings quantum computers a step closer


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Dec 30, 2012
Quantum computers and higher resolution sensors are a step closer after scientists developed a way to control a single atom with an electric field for the first time.
Described by the engineering team from UNSW as a ‘happy accident’, the discovery could replace the tried and tested magnetic resonance imaging used in medicine.
It also has ‘major implications’ for quantum computing as being able to control a single atom with an electric field gives engineers ‘much more precision’.
Generating magnetic fields, the previous solution, required large coils and high currents but electric fields can be produced on the top of a tiny electrode.
Lead author Andrea Morello says this will make it easier to control single atoms and place them in nanoelectric devices such as quantum computers and sensors.


‘This discovery means that we now have a pathway to build quantum computers using single-atom spins without the need for any oscillating magnetic field for their operation,’ said Morello.

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