The realization of quantum networks is one of the major challenges of modern physics. Now, new research shows how high-quality photons can be generated from ‘solid-state’ chips, bringing us closer to the quantum ‘internet’.
Image: An artist’s impression of distributed qubits (the bright spots) linked to each other via photons (the light beams). The colours of the beams represent that the optical frequency of the photons in each link can be tailored to the needs of the network. Credit: Mete Atature
The number of transistors on a microprocessor continues to double every two years, amazingly holding firm to a prediction by Intel co-founder Gordon Moore almost 50 years ago. If this is to continue, conceptual and technical advances harnessing the power of quantum mechanics in microchips will need to be investigated within the next decade.
“We are at the dawn of quantum-enabled technologies, and quantum computing is one of many thrilling possibilities,” says Dr Mete Atature from University of Cambridge Department of Physics. “Our results in particular suggest that multiple distant qubits in a distributed quantum network can share a highly coherent and programmable photonic interconnect that is liberated from the detrimental properties of the chips. Consequently, the ability to generate quantum entanglement and perform quantum teleportation between distant quantum-dot spin qubits with very high fidelity is now only a matter of time.”
Developing a distributed quantum network is one promising direction pursued by many researchers today. A variety of solid-state systems are currently being investigated as candidates for quantum bits of information, or qubits, as well as a number of approaches to quantum computing protocols, and the race is on for identifying the best combination.