According to scientists, both in reality and fiction, we are approaching the age of quantum computing and the accompanying paradigm shift in computing. We are not there yet though, and there is still a lot to do first. Researchers at the University of Bristol have recently led a group that includes researchers from Toshiba Corporation, Stanford University, University of Glasgow, and TU Delft, that has successfully integrated many key quantum computing components into a silicon microchip.
Simply put, quantum computers are devices capable of performing computations using quantum mechanical phenomena. As there are many different quantum particles, there are different possible kinds of quantum computers, and in this case the researchers were working towards an optical quantum device, which uses photons. Researchers have previously created the optical devices that would have to be on a chip for use in a quantum computer, but this is the first time single-photon detectors, sources, and circuits have been combined on a single piece of silicon. Obviously this marks a major milestone toward developing an optical quantum computer.
Equally important as producing the chip is the fact that Toshiba was able to fabricate using the techniques already in practice for producing modern electronics. Next the researchers hope to integrate the remaining necessary components onto a silicon chip, and then show that large-scale optical quantum devices are possible.
Source: University of Bristol