UCL Department of Electronic and Electrical Engineering


EEE Academics Publish New Study on Single Atom Control

27 March 2024

Dr Taylor Stock and Professor Neil Curson have developed a new fabrication process that enables nearly flawless control over single atoms, with an almost zero failure rate. This is significant for the field of quantum computing.

Dr Taylor Scott and Professor Neil Curson in EEE lab

The study published in Advanced Materials, marks the first successful attempt to precisely position individual atoms in an array—a concept proposed 25 years ago.

Quantum computing holds immense potential for solving complex problems that classical binary computers cannot handle. Using the proposed approach, qubits (quantum bits) are created from single atoms embedded in silicon. These atoms are meticulously positioned and cooled to extremely low temperatures to maintain their quantum properties. By manipulating them with electrical and magnetic signals, similar to how binary transistors function in classical computers, researchers unlock the power of quantum mechanics.

Unlike classical computers, which process possibilities sequentially, a quantum computer can consider them simultaneously. For tasks with an exceptionally large number of potential outcomes, this capability is revolutionary—it would take today’s best supercomputers millions of years to achieve the same results.

Professor Neil Curson, senior author of the study said: 

The ability to place atoms in silicon with near perfect precision and in a way that we can scale up is a huge milestone for the field of quantum computing, the first time that we’ve demonstrated a way of achieving the accuracy and scale required.”

The precision and scalability of this approach now raise the exciting possibility of constructing a quantum computer capable of addressing the world’s most intricate problems. 

Read the full story 

Dr Taylor Stock's academic profile
Prof Neil Curzon's academic profile
London Centre for Nanotechnology