Melbourne: A new type of silicon chip that works on light instead of electricity could lead to the first ultra-fast quantum computer within five years, say Brit scientists.
Jeremy O’Brien, who led the research, said that hugely powerful machines will be able to search vast databases almost instantaneously and greatly increase computer memory.
Applications for the device, developed at the Centre for Quantum Photonics in Bristol, are likely to be complex simulations of biological molecules and drugs that are beyond the capability of conventional machines.
"We can perform calculations that are exponentially more complex than before," news.com.au quoted O’Brien as saying.
"This will pave the way to quantum computers that will help us understand the most complex scientific problems,” he added.
The chip works by sending light particles down networks of miniature circuits.
O’Brien said many experts believed a quantum computer would not be a reality for at least 25 years.
"However, we believe, using our new technique, a quantum computer could be performing calculations that are outside the capabilities of conventional computers," he said.
He was speaking at the British Science Festival in Birmingham.