Artist's impression of the spin-orbit qubit. Like in a yo-yo toy, by moving the electron one controls its spin (Image: Gemma Plum)
Until now, the common practice for manipulating the electron spin of quantum bits, or qubits, – the building blocks of future super-fast quantum computers – has been through the use of magnetic fields. Unfortunately, these magnetic fields are extremely difficult to generate on a chip, but now Dutch scientists have found a way to manipulate qubits with electrical rather than magnetic fields. The development marks yet another an important development in the quest for future quantum computers, which would far outstrip current computers in terms of speed.