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A UNSW-led research team has encoded quantum information in silicon using simple electrical pulses for the first time, bringing the construction of affordable large-scale quantum computers one step closer to reality.

Lead researcher, UNSW Associate Professor Andrea Morello from the School of Electrical Engineering and Telecommunications, said his team had successfully realised a new control method for future quantum computers.

The findings were published today in the open-access journal Science Advances.

Unlike conventional computers that store data on transistors and hard drives, quantum computers encode data in the quantum states of microscopic objects called qubits.

The UNSW team, which is affiliated with the ARC Centre of Excellence for Quantum Computation & Communication Technology, was first in the world to demonstrate single-atom spin qubits in silicon, reported in Nature in 2012 and 2013.

The team has already improved the control of these qubits to an accuracy of above 99% and established the world record for how long can be stored in the solid state, as published in Nature Nanotechnology in 2014.

It has now demonstrated a key step that had remained elusive since 1998.

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