Sometimes described as the second quantum revolution, the development of new technologies employing the fundamental quantum mechanical principles of coherence, superposition, and entanglement has emerged as a significant field of research worldwide.
This revolution has enormous potential to solve problems that are impossible by classical methods. The technologies include quantum computer devices that offer new methods for storing, processing and transmitting information, communication networks where security is guaranteed by the laws of physics, and ultra-sensitive quantum sensors.
The global endeavour to build these devices has made significant progress in the high fidelity control of light and matter at the level of individual atoms and photons. Researchers in the School of Physics are developing quantum devices employing nuclear or electron spins based on silicon or diamond, where function is predicated on the quantum physics of precision placed single donor atoms or colour centres in a crystalline matrix.
The Experimental and Theoretical Condensed Matter Physics groups are members of the national consortium that forms the Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence for Quantum Computation and Communication Technology. In collaboration with colleagues across this Centre we have developed the blueprints for a large-scale quantum computer and demonstrated devices that have set new records for the longest coherence times of single programmable quantum bits (qubits) based on donor atoms in silicon. We have also laid the foundations for and demonstrated ultra-sensitive magnetic probes made from quantum bits in nano-diamonds for detecting the electromagnetic signal of cellular processes in biology.
We are now addressing the challenge of developing these pioneering breakthroughs into a large-scale device with many interacting qubits and ultimately building a practical quantum processor and developing the individual device components of the quantum internet that will see widespread deployment in the middle of this century.