Physicists Build First Single-Atom Quantum Bit in Silicon

Experimental advance brings silicon-based quantum computers a step closer

3 min read
image depicting system that could read and write the spin state of an electron in a phosphorous atom embedded in a silicon crystal
Image: Tony Melov

group photo

Photo: UNSW
Quantum Computer Scientists: Physicists Andrea Morello [left], Andrew Dzurak [right], and graduate student Jarryd Pla [center] built the first single-atom qubit in silicon. Click image to enlarge.

20 September 2012—Building on some groundbreaking research from a couple of years ago, physicists led by Andrea Morello and Andrew Dzurak of the University of New South Wales, in Australia, are reporting in this week’s issue of Nature that they have managed to create a quantum bit in silicon using just a single atom. The experimental technique is, in principle, compatible with existing semiconductor technology and is being heralded as a big step toward the development of silicon-based quantum computers.

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Why Functional Programming Should Be the Future of Software Development

It’s hard to learn, but your code will produce fewer nasty surprises

11 min read
A plate of spaghetti made from code
Shira Inbar

You’d expectthe longest and most costly phase in the lifecycle of a software product to be the initial development of the system, when all those great features are first imagined and then created. In fact, the hardest part comes later, during the maintenance phase. That’s when programmers pay the price for the shortcuts they took during development.

So why did they take shortcuts? Maybe they didn’t realize that they were cutting any corners. Only when their code was deployed and exercised by a lot of users did its hidden flaws come to light. And maybe the developers were rushed. Time-to-market pressures would almost guarantee that their software will contain more bugs than it would otherwise.

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