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Supercomputer breakthrough for Australian team

Published on Sep 20, 2012 3:08 PM

SYDNEY (AFP) - An Australian-led research team said on Thursday they had made a technological breakthrough in the race for a quantum supercomputer that could revolutionise data encryption and medicine.

Engineers from Sydney's University of New South Wales said they had created the first working quantum bit or qubit - the fundamental unit of a quantum supercomputer - with the findings published in the latest edition of Nature.

Lead researcher Andrew Dzurak said the team used a microwave field to gain unprecedented control over en electron bound to a single phosphorous atom that was implanted in a silicon transistor device.

They were able to both write and read information using the electron's spin, or magnetic orientation, which Mr Dzurak said was a "key advance towards realising a silicon quantum computer based on single atoms".

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