Centre updates

CQC2T researchers design atomic-scale MRI machine

A team of CQC2T researchers at the University of Melbourne have designed a quantum molecular microscope to radically miniaturise a Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) machine. Capable of imaging the structure of a single bio-molecule, the new system would overcome significant technological challenges and provide an important new tool for biotechnology and drug discovery.

A quantum spin-probe molecular microscope. Credit: Viktor Perunicic

The team propose the use of atomic-sized quantum bits (qubits) normally associated with the development of quantum computers, but here would be employed as highly sensitive quantum sensors to image the individual atoms in a bio-molecule.

The work was published in Nature Communications, and was led by CQC2T Deputy Director Prof Lloyd Hollenberg.

“Our system is specifically designed to use a quantum bit as a nano-MRI machine to image the structure of a single protein molecule in their native hydrated environments,” said Prof Hollenberg.

“In a conventional MRI machine large magnets set up a field gradient in all three directions to create 3D images; in our system we use the natural magnetic properties of a single atomic qubit,” said lead author Mr. Viktor Perunicic, CQC2T PhD researcher at the University of Melbourne.

“The construction of such a quantum MRI machine for single molecule microscopy could revolutionise how we view biological processes at the molecular level,” said Prof Hollenberg.

Read more at the University of Melbourne Newsroom.

Prof Andrea Morello awarded inaugural global prize for quantum computing

CQC2T's Professor Andrea Morello has been named inaugural recipient of the Rolf Landauer and Charles H. Bennett Award in Quantum Computing by the prestigious American Physical Society.

Morello, head of the Centre's Quantum Spin Control group, was awarded the prize “for remarkable achievements in the experimental development of spin qubits in silicon”. He was also elected to the distinguished group of American Physical Society Fellows by the APS Council of Representatives.

Professor Andrea Morello. Credit: Lee Henderson/UNSW

“I am delighted and humbled to be the first recipient of this new international award, which also constitutes a loud and clear recognition of the stature of Australian quantum science in the world,” he said.

Morello specialises in developing single-atom quantum devices in silicon, the building blocks of a universal quantum computer. His group was the first in the world to demonstrate the read-out and the control of the quantum state of a single electron and a single nuclear spin in silicon.

The prize, endowed by the IBM, is named for two of the founding fathers of modern information science, both classical and quantum. It was established in 2015 to recognise outstanding contributions in quantum information science, especially using quantum effects to perform computational and information-management tasks that would be impossible or infeasible by purely classical means.

Read more at the UNSW Newsroom.