Royal Society of NSW News & Events

Royal Society of NSW News & Events

Ideas@theHouse: August 2022

Governor of NSW Crest-Silver and Gold-2020Ideas@theHouse

presented by

Her Excellency the Honourable
Margaret Beazley AC QC, Governor of NSW

Scientia Professor Michelle Simmons
“Manufacturing at the Atomic Scale”

Michelle Simmons AO FRS DistFRSN FAA FTSE
Scientia Professor, UNSW Sydney
Director, ARC Centre of Excellence (CQC2T)
Founder, Silicon Quantum Computing

Date: Thursday, 4 August 2022, 6.30 pm AEST
Venue: Live-streamed from Government House Sydney
Video presentation: YouTube video
Society Members and Fellows, and members of the public are welcome

Summary: Figuring out how to build a quantum computer is one of the great challenges of our time. A quantum computer will bring solutions to a series of high-value computational tasks that remain beyond the reach of classical machines. Such tasks address a growing number of industry use cases in optimisation, machine learning, simulation and cryptography across the logistics, mining, pharmaceutical, finance, agricultural, automotive, communications and defence industries.

However, creating such a device requires exquisite control of computing components at unimaginably small length scales, where enigmatic quantum behaviour dominates. In this talk, I describe that whilst this is enormously challenging and, at the edge of human endeavour, I do not think it impossible. I will describe how we have pioneered a globally unique technology to build electronic devices with atomic precision and how we are now using this capability to design and manufacture atomic-scale components into the circuitry of a quantum computer. I will show the world’s first atomically manufactured integrated circuit and discuss how we have used this to perform an analogue quantum simulation of the organic molecule polyacetylene. From this, I will map the path to a commercially useful quantum processor.

Michelle Simmons has pioneered unique technologies to build electronic devices at the atomic scale, pushing the boundaries of global research in classical computing, and opening up the prospect of developing a silicon-based quantum computer: a powerful new form of computing with the potential to transform information processing. Her achievements include the development of the world's smallest transistor, the narrowest conducting wires, 3D atomic electronics, and the first two-qubit gate using atom-based qubits in silicon. Most recently, in June 2022, the startup company SQC, of which she is the founder and director, announced the world's first integrated circuit at the atomic scale, comprising 10 quantum dots, that created a quantum integrated circuit capable of simulating molecular behaviour.

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