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Compact Quantum Light Processing Could Spark Advances in Optical Quantum Computing

optical quantum computing

Insider Brief

  • An international team of researchers demonstrated quantum interference among several single photons using a novel resource-efficient platform.
  • The team said that this advance in optical quantum computing that paves the way for more scalable quantum technologies.
  • Philip Walther at University of Vienna, led the collaboration and the work was published in Science Advances.
  • Image: Resource-efficient multi-photon processor based on an optical fiber loop. Credit — Marco Di Vita

PRESS RELEASE — An international collaboration of researchers, led by Philip Walther at University of Vienna, have achieved a significant breakthrough in quantum technology, with the successful demonstration of quantum interference among several single photons using a novel resource-efficient platform. The work published in the prestigious journal Science Advances represents a notable advancement in optical quantum computing that paves the way for more scalable quantum technologies.

Interference among photons, a fundamental phenomenon in quantum optics, serves as a cornerstone of optical quantum computing. It involves harnessing the properties of light, such as its wave-particle duality, to induce interference patterns, enabling the encoding and processing of quantum information.

In traditional multi-photon experiments, spatial encoding is commonly employed, wherein photons are manipulated in different spatial paths to induce interference. These experiments require intricate setups with numerous components, making them resource-intensive and challenging to scale.

In contrast, the international team, comprising scientists from University of Vienna, Politecnico di Milano, and Université libre de Bruxells, opted for an approach based on temporal encoding. This technique manipulates the time domain of photons rather than their spatial statistics.

Responsive Image

To realize this approach, they developed an innovative architecture at the Christian Doppler Laboratory at the University of Vienna, utilizing an optical fiber loop (Fig.1). This design enables repeated use of the same optical components, facilitating efficient multi-photon interference with minimal physical resources.

First author Lorenzo Carosini explains: “In our experiment, we observed quantum interference among up to eight photons, surpassing the scale of most of existing experiments. Thanks to the versatility of our approach, the interference pattern can be reconfigured and the size of the experiment can be scaled, without changing the optical setup.”

The results demonstrate the significant resource efficiency of the implemented architecture compared to traditional spatial-encoding approaches, paving the way for more accessible and scalable quantum technologies.

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Matt Swayne

With a several-decades long background in journalism and communications, Matt Swayne has worked as a science communicator for an R1 university for more than 12 years, specializing in translating high tech and deep tech for the general audience. He has served as a writer, editor and analyst at The Quantum Insider since its inception. In addition to his service as a science communicator, Matt also develops courses to improve the media and communications skills of scientists and has taught courses. [email protected]

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