It was just a few weeks ago that Scientists at Yale University found a new way to manipulate microwave signals that could aid the long-term effort to develop a quantum computer by using photons. Now, the story has got more alluring rather than appealing as the nuclear spin surprisingly appear to have involved in working of quantum computers. Thanks to the research team led by Australian engineers at the University of New South Wales (UNSW). The team has created  first working quantum bit based on the nuclear spin of a single phosphorus atom in silicon, thus making a high-powered quantum computer even more powerful by improving data processing at  unprecedented speed.

Quantum bit is the basic unit of information in a quantum computer. Quantum computers allows a bit to store a value of 0 and 1 simultaneously.

Previously, photon was used and now the use of phosphorus nucleus has become more effective. The magnetic power of the nucleus of the phosphorous atom is very weak and it behaves as a compass needle that can point north or south. These positions are equivalent to “zero” or “one” of binary code, which regulates the principle of classical computing. In this experiment, the researchers control the direction of the nucleus, in effect “writing” a value onto its spin, and then “reading” the value out – turning the nucleus into a functioning qubit.

“We achieved a read-out fidelity of 99.8 per cent, which sets a new benchmark for qubit accuracy in solid-state devices,” says Scientia Professor Andrew Dzurak, from the UNSW School of Electrical Engineering & Telecommunications (EE&T).

As published in Nature, detection of nuclear spin precession is critical for a wide range of scientific techniques that have applications in diverse fields including analytical chemistry, materials science, medicine and biology. Fundamentally, it is possible because of the extreme isolation of nuclear spins from their environment. This isolation also makes single nuclear spins desirable for quantum-information processing.

Read High-fidelity readout and control of a nuclear spin qubit in silicon for more information on this.