Research conducted by three top universities has yielded a breakthrough in quantum mechanics that could pave the way for the creation of an affordable quantum computer.
The research has been carried out by teams of scientists from the University of Surrey, University College London, Edinburgh's Heriot-Watt University, and the FOM Institute for Plasma Physics in the Netherlands.
According to a paper published by the researchers in the science journal Nature, for the first time, scientists have managed to control the propensity of an electron to exist in two places at once, in silicon.
Tech blog Computing explains that the researchers placed the electron using an far infra-red, high-intensity ray beamed from a Dutch Felix laser, creating what's known as a 'quantum superposition state'.
Photonics group leader at the University of Surrey, Ben Murdin, said: “This means the development of a silicon-based quantum computer may be just over the horizon. Quantum computers can solve some problems much more efficiently than conventional computers.”