Fay Hudson is sitting in a narrow, ground-floor laboratory, peering at a fuzzy black-and-white image on a computer screen.

The long, windowless lab is lined with benches. Space is tight. Everyone wears white overalls, masks and goggles, like extras in some claustrophobic sci-fi movie.

Special lighting bathes everything in an eerie yellow glow to prevent ultraviolet light damaging sensitive materials. From grills in the ceiling super-filtered air flows down to eliminate dust.

Hudson and colleagues at the ARC Centre for Quantum Computation and Communication Technology spend all day in this room, which is part of the Australian National Fabrication Facility at UNSW. The only thing that makes the trying conditions bearable is the knowledge they’re at the cutting edge of science. 

These UNSW scientists and engineers are doing things that were considered impossible just a decade ago. They are manipulating matter at the most fundamental level, with the aim of building a powerful new kind of computer – one that will operate using the laws of quantum physics and unlock unimaginable processing power to solve problems beyond the capacity of regular computers. 

Read the full story in Uniken.