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New breakthrough in quantum computing

Friday, May 10 06:47:45

Australian scientists have made a breakthrough that brings the prospect of a network of ultra- powerful quantum computers-connected via a quantum internet-closer to reality, the University of New South Wales (UNSW) said in a statement yesterday.

The study, published in the journal "Nature" is a collaboration between researchers from the ARC Centre of Excellence for Quantum Computation and Communication Technology based at UNSW, the Australian National University and the University of Melbourne.

According to the statement, the research team is the first in the world to have detected the spin, or quantum state, of a single atom using a combined optical and electrical approach.

Quantum computers promise to deliver an exponential increase in processing power over conventional computers by using a single electron or nucleus of an atom as the basic processing unit-a quantum bit, or qubit.

By performing multiple calculations simultaneously, quantum computers could be applied to economic modelling, fast database searches, modelling of biological molecules and drugs, and encryption and decryption of information.

Lead author of the study, UNSW's Dr. Chunming Yin, said the new approach opens up the possibility of using light to couple the atoms, or qubits, together to form a quantum computer.

"Using light to transfer information in the quantum state is easier than doing it electrically. Ultimately this will lead to quantum communications over long distances." Yin said.

Report by Cathal O Dubhain