Science 3 min read

Blanket of Entangled Light Pulses for Quantum Computers



Researchers from the Danish National Research Foundation Center of Excellence for Macroscopic Quantum States (BigQ) have created a blanket of entangled light pulses, a breakthrough that could pave the way for powerful quantum computers to be developed.

In a paper published in the journal Science, Prof. Ulrik Lund Andersen and his colleagues from BigQ have described how they were able to accomplish the said feat. Andersen said:

“The prevailing view among researchers is that quantum mechanics is a universally valid theory and therefore also applicable in the macroscopic day-to-day world we normally live in. This also means that it should be possible to observe quantum phenomena on a large scale, and this is precisely what we strive to.”

Despite countless attempts, no experiments to date have succeeded in proving quantum mechanics. That’s despite the fact that it’s one of the most successful theories of natural science and its predictions are often counterintuitive.

Creating a Blanket of Entangled Light Pulses

For their study, Andersen’s team focused on one of today’s most interesting quantum phenomena: entanglement.

Entanglement is described as a state in which physical objects are intricately linked that it’s already impossible to tell them apart. Meaning, these physical objects are perceived as a unified whole, regardless of how far apart they are.

Entangled objects act as a single unit. And, if they are measured individually, “the results will be correlated to such a degree that it cannot be described based on the classical laws of nature.”

Entanglement is not only restricted to two objects. However, the phenomenon is still confined to the microscopic scale — until now.

In their effort to observe the said quantum phenomenon on a macroscopic scale, Andersen and his colleagues at BigQ created a network of 30,000 entangled light pulses. The light pulses were arranged in a two-dimensional lattice distributed in space and time, similar to an array of colored threads woven together into a patterned blanket.

The team was able to produce light beams with unique quantum mechanical properties. Then, using optical fiber components, they wove them to create an extremely entangled quantum state, also known as a cluster state.

Mikkel Vilsbøll Larsen, the lead author of the paper, said:

“As opposed to traditional cluster states, we make use of the temporal degree of freedom to obtain the two-dimensional entangled lattice of 30,000 light pulses. The experimental setup is actually surprisingly simple. Most of the effort was in developing the idea of the cluster state generation.”

Potential Applications

According to the team, the cluster state could be a possible resource for creating an optical quantum computer. And since the phenomenon can be created at room temperature, it could be a better alternative to current superconducting technologies.

The approach can lead to the development of optical quantum computers that don’t require expensive refrigeration technology. Aside from that, the quantum computer’s light-based information-carrying qubits in the laser spectrum will be more durable than their ultra-cold counterparts used in superconductors.

Andersen concluded:

“Through the distribution of the generated cluster state in space and time, an optical quantum computer can also more easily be scaled to contain hundreds of qubits. This makes it a potential candidate for the next generation of larger and more powerful quantum computers.”

Read More: 11 Facts That Help Explain The Quantum Computer

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Chelle is the Product Management Lead at INK. She's an experienced SEO professional as well as UX researcher and designer. She enjoys traveling and spending time anywhere near the sea with her family and friends.

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