University of Virginia Researchers Open Path Toward Quantum Computing in Real-World Conditions
(Phys.org) 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, has carved a niche in the physics and applications of photonic devices, which detect and shape light for a wide range of uses including communications and computing. His research group has 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.
“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.”
Yi’s photonics-based approach is attractive because a field of light is also full spectrum; each light wave in the spectrum has the potential to become a quantum unit. Yi hypothesized that by entangling fields of light, the light would achieve a quantum state.
Olivier Pfister, professor of quantum optics and quantum information at UVA, and Hansuek Lee, assistant professor at the Korean Advanced Institute of Science and Technology, contributed to this success. “The future of the field is integrated quantum optics,” Pfister said. “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.”
Yi’s multiplexing technique opens a path toward quantum computing for real-world conditions, where errors are inevitable. This is true even in classical computers. But quantum states are much more fragile than classical states.
Yi’s photonics-based system offers two additional advantages in the quantum computing quest. Quantum computing platforms that use superconducting electronic circuits require cooling to cryogenic temperatures. Because the photon has no mass, quantum computers with photonic integrated chips can run or sleep at room temperature. Additionally, Lee fabricated the microresonator on a silicon chip using standard lithography techniques. This is important because it implies the resonator or quantum source can be mass-produced.