Researchers Open A Path Towards Quantum Computing

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Researchers create a scalable quantum computing platform that reduces the number of devices needed to achieve quantum speed.

Quantum computing offers an entirely new way of processing information. Conventional desktop computers and laptops process information in long strings of bits. A bit can hold only one of two values: zero or one. Quantum computers process information in parallel, which means they don’t have to wait for one sequence of information to be processed before they can compute more. Their unit of information is qubit, which is a hybrid that can be zero and one at the same time. 

Mainstream quantum computers are decades away. The researchers across the globe are working towards different aspects of the technology.

A research team led by Xu Yi, assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering at the University of Virginia School of Engineering and Applied Science, have created a scalable quantum computing platform, which drastically reduces the number of devices needed to achieve quantum speed, on a photonic chip the size of a penny. Their work is published in the journal Nature Communications.

Prof. Yi hypothesized that by entangling fields of light, the light would achieve a quantum state. In multiplexing, several wavelengths or colors of light (in optical fibers) are used in parallel for communication. Yi carried the multiplexing concept into the quantum realm.

Olivier Pfister, professor of quantum optics and quantum information at UVA, said “The future of the field is integrated quantum optics. Only by transferring quantum optics experiments from protected optics labs to field-compatible photonic chips will bona fide quantum technology be able to see the light of day. We are extremely fortunate to have been able to attract to UVA a world expert in quantum photonics such as Xu Yi, and I’m very excited by the perspectives these new results open to us.”

Through multiplexing, Yi’s team verified the generation of 40 qumodes from a single microresonator on a chip, proving that multiplexing of quantum modes can work in integrated photonic platforms. This is just the number they are able to measure.

“We estimate that when we optimize the system, we can generate thousands of qumodes from a single device,” Yi said.

“We are proud to push the frontiers of engineering in quantum computing and accelerate the transition from bulk optics to integrated photonics,” Yi said. “We will continue to explore ways to integrate devices and circuits in a photonics-based quantum computing platform and optimize its performance.”


 

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