The world’s first 3D atomic-scale quantum chip architecture

The world's first 3D atomic-scale quantum chip architecture
© UNSW Sydney

The world’s first 3D atomic-scale quantum chip architecture has been built at the Centre of Excellence for Quantum Computation and Communication Technology.

University of New South Wales researchers showed the ability to build atomic precision qubits in a 3D quantum chip architecture. This is another major development in the progress towards a universal quantum computer.

Professor Michelle Simmons, the 2018 Australian of the Year and Director of the Centre for Excellence for Quantum Computation and Communication Technology (CQC2T), led the research.

Simmons said: “This 3D device architecture is a significant advancement for atomic qubits in silicon. To be able to constantly correct for errors in quantum calculations – an important milestone in our field – you have to be able to control many qubits in parallel.”

3d quantum chip architecture

The team has shown that they can extend their atomic qubit fabrication technique to multiple layers of a silicon crystal. This means that they have achieved a critical component of the 3D chip architecture that they introduced in 2015.

They are the first in the world to demonstrate the use of atomic-scale qubits aligned to control lines inside a 3D design. The team was able to also able to read out qubit states single shot – within one single measurement – with very high fidelity.

Simmons added: “The only way to do this is to use a 3D architecture, so in 2015 we developed and patented a vertical crisscross architecture. However, there were still a series of challenges related to the fabrication of this multi-layered device. With this result we have now shown that engineering our approach in 3D is possible in the way we envisioned it a few years ago.”

CQC2T researcher and co-author, Dr Joris Keizer, explained: “It’s a highly complicated process, but in very simple terms, we built the first plane, and then optimized a technique to grow the second layer without impacting the structures in first layer,” explains CQC2T researcher and co-author, Dr Joris Keizer.

Is a large-scale quantum computer on the horizon?

Simmons concludes: “While we are still at least a decade away from a large-scale quantum computer, the work of CQC2T remains at the forefront of innovation in this space. Concrete results such as these reaffirm our strong position internationally,” she concludes.

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