Silicon chip works on light instead of electricity
Scientists in Britain claim to have developed a new quantum chip that will lead to hack-proof mobile phones and ultra-fast computers. Researchers at Bristol University, working in collaboration with Nokia, Toshiba and others, are to give more details of the breakthrough later this week at the British Science Festival in Aberdeen. A long-awaited dream of scientists, the quantum chip is manufactured from silicon and works on light, making it thousands of times smaller than the glass chips used previously. It’s a technology that also lends itself to fabricating quantum circuits in silicon, making it compatible with modern electronics.
Unlike existing silicon chips that control electrical pulses, it’s claimed the quantum chips will be able to manipulate particles of light, or photons, to perform complex calculations.
In theory, a quantum computing device with 100 photons could solve trillions of equations at the same time – outpacing even supercomputers.
Another advantage is that the new circuits are equally compatible with existing optical glass fibre infrastructure found in broadband communications as they operate on the same wavelengths.
Current silicon fab labs could easily be re-adapted to produce millions of quantum chips, so it’s claimed, with the processors integrated into conventional microelectronic circuits within just three to five years.