Are spin qubits a quantum computing breakthrough? Intel making ‘fast progress’ with new chip

Intel recently announced plans to continue its research into the potential of spin qubits for quantum computing. This alternative architecture for test chips shows a lot of promise when it comes to expanding the capabilities of quantum computing, according to Intel, which says it is “making fast progress” in developing this type of test chip. While the company doesn’t yet have a tangible offering using this specific type of technology, it does plan on dedicating some serious resources to the technology going forward. Here’s what you need to know about the initiative so far.

What are spin qubits?

Spin qubits operate in silicon and have the ability to offer functionality that’s similar to that of today’s semiconductor electronics. However, they leverage the spin of just a single electron on a silicon device, allowing them to control movement using small microwave functions. They can also spin in different directions, even spinning up and down at the same time. This potential for complex movement means that the technology should theoretically be able to process a massive amount of data all at once, much faster than the computers currently in use.

What are the benefits?

Aside from the potential for processing complex data faster, spin qubits are also incredibly small, making the solution much more scalable and lengthening the coherence time. Additionally, spin qubits have the ability to function at higher temperatures than superconducting qubits. This should allow for less complex systems to make use of spin qubits to process complex data.

What is Intel working on?

So far, Intel has been able to develop a spin qubit fabrication flow on its 300mm process technology using isotopically pure wafers. Now Intel is working with QuTech to research both superconducting and spin qubits across the entire quantum stack. This research requires Intel to dig into how these qubits might interact with hardware and software architecture so they can develop the exact type of technology that will provide strong benefits for quantum computing.

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