Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Optical chip enables new approach to quantum computing

Date:
September 17, 2010
Source:
University of Bristol
Summary:
Scientists have developed a new approach to quantum computing that could soon be used to perform complex calculations that cannot be done by today's computers.

This is the photonic chip next to a UK penny. The chip contains micrometer and sub-micrometer features and guide light using a network of waveguides. The output of this network can be seen on the surface of the chip.
Credit: Photograph by Jasmin Meinecke

An international research group led by scientists from the University of Bristol has developed a new approach to quantum computing that could soon be used to perform complex calculations that cannot be done by today's computers.

Related Articles


Scientists from Bristol's Centre for Quantum Photonics have developed a silicon chip that could be used to perform complex calculations and simulations using quantum particles in the near future. The researchers believe that their device represents a new route to a quantum computer -- a powerful type of computer that uses quantum bits (qubits) rather than the conventional bits used in today's computers.

Unlike conventional bits or transistors, which can be in one of only two states at any one time (1 or 0), a qubit can be in several states at the same time and can therefore be used to hold and process a much larger amount of information at a greater rate.

"It is widely believed that a quantum computer will not become a reality for at least another 25 years," says Professor Jeremy O'Brien, Director of the Centre for Quantum Photonics. "However, we believe, using our new technique, a quantum computer could, in less than ten years, be performing calculations that are outside the capabilities of conventional computers."

The technique developed in Bristol uses two identical particles of light (photons) moving along a network of circuits in a silicon chip to perform an experiment known as a quantum walk. Quantum walk experiments using one photon have been done before and can even be modelled exactly by classical wave physics. However, this is the first time a quantum walk has been performed with two particles and the implications are far-reaching.

"Using a two-photon system, we can perform calculations that are exponentially more complex than before," says O'Brien. "This is very much the beginning of a new field in quantum information science and will pave the way to quantum computers that will help us understand the most complex scientific problems."

In the short term, the team expect to apply their new results immediately for developing new simulation tools in their own lab. In the longer term, a quantum computer based on a multi-photon quantum walk could be used to simulate processes which themselves are governed by quantum mechanics, such as superconductivity and photosynthesis.

"Our technique could improve our understanding of such important processes and help, for example, in the development of more efficient solar cells," adds O'Brien. Other applications include the development of ultra-fast and efficient search engines, designing high-tech materials and new pharmaceuticals.

The leap from using one photon to two photons is not trivial because the two particles need to be identical in every way and because of the way these particles interfere, or interact, with each other. There is no direct analogue of this interaction outside of quantum physics.

"Now that we can directly realize and observe two-photon quantum walks, the move to a three-photon, or multi-photon, device is relatively straightforward, but the results will be just as exciting" says O'Brien. "Each time we add a photon, the complexity of the problem we are able to solve increases exponentially, so if a one-photon quantum walk has 10 outcomes, a two-photon system can give 100 outcomes and a three-photon system 1000 solutions and so on."

The group, which includes researchers from Tohoku University, Japan, the Weizmann Institute in Israel and the University of Twente in the Netherlands, now plans to use the chip to perform quantum mechanical simulations. The researchers are also planning to increase the complexity of their experiment not only by adding more photons but also by using larger circuits.

The research is published in the journal Science.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Bristol. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Alberto Peruzzo, Mirko Lobino, Jonathan C. F. Matthews, Nobuyuki Matsuda, Alberto Politi, Konstantinos Poulios, Xiao-Qi Zhou, Yoav Lahini, Nur Ismail, Kerstin W๖rhoff, Yaron Bromberg, Yaron Silberberg, Mark G. Thompson, and Jeremy L. O'Brien. Quantum Walks of Correlated Photons. Science, 2010; 329 (5998): 1500-1503 DOI: 10.1126/science.1193515

Cite This Page:

University of Bristol. "Optical chip enables new approach to quantum computing." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 17 September 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/09/100916145049.htm>.
University of Bristol. (2010, September 17). Optical chip enables new approach to quantum computing. ScienceDaily. Retrieved January 27, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/09/100916145049.htm
University of Bristol. "Optical chip enables new approach to quantum computing." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/09/100916145049.htm (accessed January 27, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Computers & Math News

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Cablevision Enters Wi-Fi Phone Fray

Cablevision Enters Wi-Fi Phone Fray

Reuters - Business Video Online (Jan. 26, 2015) — The entry by Cablevision and Google could intensify the already heated price wars for mobile phone service. Fred Katayama reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Hector the Robot Mimics a Giant Stick Insect

Hector the Robot Mimics a Giant Stick Insect

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Jan. 26, 2015) — A robot based on a stick insect can navigate difficult terrain autonomously and adapt to its surroundings. Tara Cleary reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Scientists Model Flying, Walking Drone After Vampire Bats

Scientists Model Flying, Walking Drone After Vampire Bats

Buzz60 (Jan. 26, 2015) — Swiss scientists build a new drone that can both fly and walk, modeling it after the movements of common vampire bats. Jen Markham (@jenmarkham) has the story. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
Malaysia Airlines Hack: Lizard Squad, ISIS Involved?

Malaysia Airlines Hack: Lizard Squad, ISIS Involved?

Newsy (Jan. 26, 2015) — Malaysia Airlines on Sunday experienced website outages and what appeared to be an attack by hacker group Lizard Squad. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Space & Time

Matter & Energy

Computers & Math

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

    Health News

    Environment News

    Technology News



    Save/Print:
    Share:  

    Free Subscriptions


    Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

    Get Social & Mobile


    Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

    Have Feedback?


    Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
    Mobile iPhone Android Web
    Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
    Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
    Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins