Silicon for Quantum Computing Uses

Battle of the Elements: silicon builds digital revolution from sand

Silicon is the element that driven the biggest changes in our modern lives. Silicon chips in computers, phones, and all sorts of other gadgets have revolutionized both the way we work and the way we play, while optical fibres made from silica criss-cross the globe to create the communication networks at the heart of our connected world. Yet this digital revolution is only a very recent phenomenon. As a school student in the early 1980s, I remember the excitement surrounding our very first “computer suite” – a narrow room reclaimed from the back of a maths classroom that was equipped with a Commodore PET, two BBC Micros and a printer. It all seemed very futuristic, even if all we did…

…The manufacturing capability and low cost of silicon microelectronics has spawned other applications too. Solar cells made of crystalline silicon dominate the photovoltaics market, accounting for more than 90% of installed devices, even though silicon’s less-than-perfect optical properties limit conversion efficiencies to around 20%. And researchers are pushing the boundaries of what’s possible with silicon photonics, developing all-optical chips that would boost transmission speeds for datacoms and on-chip interconnects, and recent work has exploited silicon to demonstrate the building blocks of quantum processors… READ MORE