Professor Michelle Simmons received the 2017 Asia/Pacific L’Oréal-UNESCO For Women in Science award for her ‘pioneering contributions to quantum and atomic electronics, constructing atomic transistors en route to quantum computers’.

Professor Michelle Simmons, twice an ARC Federation Fellow, now an Australian Laureate Fellow and Director of the ARC Centre of Excellence for Quantum Computation & Communication Technology(CQC2T) at The University of New South Wales, is leading the world in the development of a prototype quantum computer in silicon.

The quantum computer is expected to usher in a new era in computing, as dramatic as the revolution that the integrated circuit has made to computing over the past 50 years.

The unique approach taken by Professor Simmons’ team is to utilise silicon, the same material that industry currently uses for conventional computing, but to make the devices at the atomic-scale to harness the power of quantum physics.

Because of this promise, the ARC Centre of Excellence has recently attracted significant additional funding support of $10 million each from Telstra and the Commonwealth Bank. The project has also received support of $26 million through the Australian Government’National Innovation and Science Agenda (NISA).

In the process of working to make quantum computing a reality, the centre has also announced a series of breakthrough technical advances, including the development of an atomic scale magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) machine using atomic-scale sensing technology, and the creation of the world’s best near-perfect clones of quantum information using a new method to surpass cloning limits.

Image: Professor Michelle Simmons.
Image courtesy: L’Oréal–UNESCO.