A new type of silicon could dramatically enhance the performance of next-generation computers.

A team of researchers from the UK and the Netherlands have created an inexpensive silicon that has the ability to control the remarkable property of an electron to exist in two places simultaneously. The research is significant as this silicon has the potential to be used as a semiconductor in quantum computers that can solve some problems more efficiently than traditional computers.

Professor Ben Murdin of the University of Surrey says about the new silicon breakthrough:

Quantum computers can solve some problems much more efficiently than conventional computers – and they will be particularly useful for security because they can quickly crack existing codes and create un-crackable codes. The next generation of devices must make use of these superpositions to do quantum computations. Crucially our work shows that some of the quantum engineering already demonstrated by atomic physicists in very sophisticated instruments called cold atom traps, can be implemented in the type of silicon chip used in making the much more common transistor.

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