(RIT.edu) Researchers from Rochester Institute of Technology and national photonic device company, AdvR Inc., built a quantum chip prototype that is bridging today’s traditional fiber optic networks with the future—quantum computing networks.
By better entangling, or integrating, the two types of communications technologies, quantum-based computers would be able to process data orders of magnitude faster than current computers and to move information across networks more securely.
With speed and security coupled with higher sensing power based on quantum mechanics, this technology platform could further hone important computing applications for drug development or imaging, said Stefan Prebl, principal investigator for RIT’s project team.
The project, “AFRL STTR Phase II: Wideband quantum photonic integrated circuits for conditioning, routing and gate operations of highly non-degenerate entangled photons” is funded by a grant of nearly $700,000 from the Department of the Air Force Material Command.
The basic technology concepts include operating over a wide range of wavelengths—both seen and unseen—to produce links between quantum nodes based on atomic, quantum systems and fiber optic infrastructure.
Some integrated photonic chips are being manufactured at semiconductor fabrication facilities. Most leverage silicon, which has long been the foundational material in chips. Production costs using the material are lower.
“But the problem with silicon is it doesn’t work at the visible wavelengths that we need for quantum nodes that utilize atoms. Silicon can’t solve everything,” said Preble. “With photons, their key advantage is they move at the speed of light, so they are really good at moving information, specifically quantum information, from place-to-place. That is our focus, to basically connect things together quantum-mechanically.”