The Pollock Memorial Lecture for 2013 - Quantum Computing in Silicon and the Limits of Silicon Miniaturisation

Professor Simmons, Director of the ARC Centre of Excellence for Quantum Computation and Communication Technology, UNSW

Presented by The Royal Society of NSW in conjunction with the Australian Institute of Physics


23 October, 2013

Down-scaling has been the leading paradigm of the semiconductor industry since the invention of the first transistor in 1947. However miniaturization will soon reach the ultimate limit, set by the discreteness of matter, leading to intensified research in alternative approaches for creating logic devices. One of the most exciting of these is quantum computation. The ARC Centre of Excellence for Quantum Computation and Communication Technology is researching devices that address the ultimate limit of device miniaturization in silicon where we have patterned dopants in a crystalline environment with atomic precision to act as one dimensional leads, single electron transistors and control gates. They can demonstrate precision single atom transistors and spin-read-out in a silicon quantum computing architecture that is inherently scalable. Professor Simons will discuss the benefits of donors as qubits and address some of the challenges to achieving truly atomically precise devices in all three spatial dimensions.

Profesor Michelle Simmons


Professor Michelle Simmons is the Director of the Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence for Quantum Computation and Communication Technology, a Federation Fellow and a Scientia Professor of Physics at the University of New South Wales. Following her PhD in solar engineering at the University of Durham in the UK she became a Research Fellow at the Cavendish Laboratory in Cambridge, UK, working with Professor Sir Michael Pepper FRS in quantum electronics. In 1999, she was awarded a QEII Fellowship and came to Australia where she was a founding member, and now the Director of the Centre of Excellence.

Since 2000 she has established a large research group dedicated to the fabrication of atomic-scale devices in silicon using the atomic precision of scanning tunneling microscopy. Her group has developed the world's thinnest conducting wires in silicon and the smallest transistors made with atomic precision. She has published more than 300 papers in refereed journals and presented over 80 invited and plenary presentations at international conferences. In 2005 she was awarded the Pawsey Medal by the Australian Academy of Science and in 2006 became the one of the youngest elected Fellows of this Academy. In 2008 she became a dual citizen of Australia/UK and she was awarded a second Federation Fellowship by the Australian Government and was named the NSW Scientist of the Year in 2011.

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The Royal Society of NSW is the oldest learned society in the Southern Hemisphere, tracing its origin to the Philosophical Society of Australasia, founded in Sydney in 1821. Their purpose is "for the encouragement of studies and investigations in Science Art Literature and Philosophy".