World’s Purest Silicon Paves the Way for Next-Gen Quantum Computers

Holding Silicon Wafer

Researchers at the University of Manchester and the University of Melbourne have developed an ultra-pure silicon crucial for creating scalable quantum computers, which could potentially address global challenges such as climate change and healthcare issues.

A major breakthrough in

Building on the same pioneering method forged by Ernest Rutherford – “the founder of nuclear physics” – scientists at the University, in collaboration with the University of Melbourne in Australia, have produced an enhanced, ultra-pure form of silicon that allows construction of high-performance qubit devices – a fundamental component required to pave the way towards scalable quantum computers.

The finding, published in the journal Communications Materials, could define and push forward the future of quantum computing.

Quantum Computing Advances

Richard Curry, Professor of Advanced Electronic Materials at The University of Manchester, said:

“What we’ve been able to do is effectively create a critical ‘brick’ needed to construct a silicon-based quantum computer. It’s a crucial step to making a technology that has the potential to be transformative for humankind – feasible; a technology that could give us the capability to process data at such as scale, that we will be able to find solutions to complex issues such as addressing the impact of climate change and tackling healthcare challenges.

Rich Curry and Mason Adshead

Prof Rich Curry (right) and Dr. Mason Adshead (left). Credit: The University of Manchester

“It is fitting that this achievement aligns with the 200th anniversary of our University, where Manchester has been at the forefront of science innovation throughout this time, including Rutherford’s ‘splitting the Rich Curry

Prof Rich Curry. Credit: The University of Manchester

Silicon’s Role in Quantum Computing

Silicon is the underpinning material in classical computing due to its semiconductor properties and the researchers believe it could be the answer to scalable quantum computers. Scientists have spent the last 60 years learning how to engineer silicon to make it perform to the best of its ability, but in quantum computing, it has its challenges.

Natural silicon is made up of three atoms of different mass (called isotopes) – silicon 28, 29, and 30. However the Si-29, making up around 5% of silicon, causes a ‘nuclear flip flopping’ effect causing the qubit to lose information.

In a breakthrough at The University of Manchester, scientists have come up with a way to engineer silicon to remove the silicon 29 and 30 atoms, making it the perfect material to make quantum computers at scale, and with high SciTechDaily