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Stanford's Simple New Quantum Computer Design: Photonic Computation in a Synthetic Time Dimension

By Stanford University

December 1, 2021

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Stanford University researchers have proposed a simpler design for photonic quantum computers using readily available components, according to a paper published on November 29, 2021, in Optica. Their proposed design uses a laser to manipulate a single atom that, in turn, can modify the state of the photons via a phenomenon called "quantum teleportation." The atom can be reset and reused for many quantum gates, eliminating the need to build multiple distinct physical gates, vastly reducing the complexity of building a quantum computer.

"Normally, if you wanted to build this type of quantum computer, you'd have to take potentially thousands of quantum emitters, make them all perfectly indistinguishable, and then integrate them into a giant photonic circuit," said Ben Bartlett, a PhD candidate in applied physics and lead author of the paper. "Whereas with this design, we only need a handful of relatively simple components, and the size of the machine doesn't increase with the size of the quantum program you want to run."

This remarkably simple design requires only a few pieces of equipment: a fiber optic cable, a beam splitter, a pair of optical switches, and an optical cavity.

From Stanford University
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