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Tackling the noise problem in quantum electronics

Case Study One: Australia-India Strategic Research Fund

Professor Michelle Simmons and her team at the Centre for Quantum Computing in the University of New South Wales are working to develop a quantum computer.

With support from the Australia- India Strategic Research Fund, Professor Simmons' team are working with the Indian Institute of Science to tackle the problem of noise in quantum electronics.

Their collaboration combines Australia's state-of-the-art fabrication facilities and India's ultrasensitive noise measurement apparatus.

Joris Keizer looking through a microscope
Researcher, Joris Keizer, using a scanning tunnelling microscope to fabricate silicon devices with atomic precision.

Professor Simmons' team are currently the only group in the world fabricating and optimising quantum electronic devices using silicon and germanium.

Quantum computing aims to use the unique and sometimes quirky properties of quantum physics – the study of particles at the atomic and sub-atomic level which can be in multiple states at the same time – to solve complex problems in finance, medicine, weather forecasting and physics, much faster than traditional computers can.

Researchers must first be able to precisely and predictably manipulate material at the quantum scale. Quantum scale electronic devices are traditionally plagued by high levels of noise, or unintended and uncontrolled environmental interference. Understanding and controlling noise has become critical for the development of quantum computers and the continued miniaturisation of traditional computers.

"Our Indian partners were able to look at the devices we made and could tell us what the issues were that made a particular device behave badly. As a consequence, we could change our fabrication process to get our devices working better," Professor Simmons said.

Outcomes from the collaboration so far have included the discovery of a new state of matter, the development of new techniques for the production of atomic-scale germanium and silicon transistors, and the repeated production of quantum electronic devices with the lowest levels of electrical noise to date.

Over the next five years, the team is planning to produce a 10-qubit quantum integrated circuit device.

International cooperation is accelerating Australian and Indian efforts to produce a scalable quantum computer, and the rest of the world is watching closely.

Find out more

For more information on the Australia-India Strategic Research Fund, visit

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Last Updated: 3 April 2017
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