Researchers squeeze laser light into quantum processor

October 18, 2019 //By Julien Happich
quantum processor
An international team of scientists from Australia, Japan and the United States has produced a prototype of a large-scale quantum processor made of laser light.

Based on a design ten years in the making, the processor has built-in scalability that allows the number of quantum components—made out of light—to scale to extreme numbers. The research was published in Science under the title “Generation of time-domain-multiplexed two-dimensional cluster state”.

Quantum computers promise fast solutions to hard problems, but to do this they require a large number of quantum components and must be relatively error free. Current quantum processors are still small and prone to errors. This new design provides an alternative solution, using light, to reach the scale required to eventually outperform classical computers on important problems.

"While today's quantum processors are impressive, it isn't clear if the current designs can be scaled up to extremely large sizes," notes Dr. Nicolas Menicucci, Chief Investigator at the Centre for Quantum Computation and Communication Technology (CQC2T) at RMIT University in Melbourne, Australia.


The entanglement structure of a large-scale quantum
processor made of light. Credit: Shota Yokoyama 2019.

"Our approach starts with extreme scalability—built in from the very beginning—because the processor, called a cluster state, is made out of light." A cluster state is a large collection of entangled quantum components that performs quantum computations when measured in a particular way.

"To be useful for real-world problems, a cluster state must be both large enough and have the right entanglement structure. In the two decades since they were proposed, all previous demonstrations of cluster states have failed on one or both of these counts," says Dr. Menicucci. "Ours is the first ever to succeed at both."


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