Researchers in Canada say they have made a crucial breakthrough in the development of all-silicon photonic quantum systems.
The team at Simon Fraser University in Burnaby have been working on silicon photon-spin qubits, which they say can achieve an important milestone for massively scalable quantum computers and the quantum internet that will connect them.
The work integrates individually addressable ‘T centre’ photon–spin qubits in silicon photonic structures and characterize their spin-dependent telecommunications-band optical transitions. This enables the use of photon-spin qubits built in standard silicon for quantum computing that can be connected directly to optical fibres for quantum interconnection.
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The research published by Daniel Higginbottom, Alex Kurkjian, and co-authors provides proof of principle that T centres, a specific luminescent defect in silicon, can provide a ‘photonic link’ between qubits.
“This work is the first measurement of single T centres in isolation, and actually, the first measurement of any single spin in silicon to be performed with only optical measurements,” says Stephanie Simmons, Canada Research Chair in Silicon Quantum Technologies at the SFU Silicon Quantum Technology Lab. (above)
“An emitter like the T centre that combines high-performance spin qubits and optical photon generation is ideal to make scalable, distributed, quantum computers, because they can handle the processing and the communications together, rather than needing to interface two different quantum technologies, one for processing and one for communications,” she said.
In addition, T centres have the advantage of emitting light at the same wavelength that today’s metropolitan fibre communications and telecom networking equipment use.
“With T centres, you can build quantum processors that inherently communicate with other processors,” says Simmons. “When your silicon qubit can communicate by emitting photons in the same band used in data centres and fibre networks, you get these same benefits for connecting the millions of qubits needed for quantum computing.”
“By finding a way to create quantum computing processors in silicon, you can take advantage of all of the years of development, knowledge, and infrastructure used to manufacture conventional computers, rather than creating a whole new industry for quantum manufacturing,” she said. “This represents an almost insurmountable competitive advantage in the international race for a quantum computer.”
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