Copenhagen researchers can now gain a “quantum advantage”

Researchers at the University of Copenhagen have advanced quantum technology that classic computer technology can no longer sustain. With financial support, they have developed a chip that can be used to build a quantum simulator for the future. The results are published here Advances in science.

First came Google. Now, researchers at the Niels Bohr Institute at the University of Copenhagen, in collaboration with the University of Bochum, have joined Google in what they call the “great progress” in the race to build the world’s first quantum computer.

“We now have a tool that allows us to build a quantum simulator that can surpass the classical computer. It is a great breakthrough and is the first step in entering an unknown territory in the world of quantum physics, ”says Professor Peter Lodahl, director of the Center for Hybrid Quantum Networks (Hy-Q).

Specifically, researchers have developed a nanochip that is less than a tenth of a human hair. The chip can generate enough stable light particles encoded with quantum information to increase technology, thus achieving a so-called “quantum advantage”: a computational task given by a quantum device that can fix a situation faster than the world’s most powerful supercomputer.

10 million euros experiment

Researchers have yet to conduct a “quantum advantage” experiment, the article said Advances in science demonstrates that their chip creates a quantum mechanical resource that can be used to achieve a “quantum advantage” with already proven technology.

To achieve this state, about 50 quantum bits must be controlled, the “qubits” – the quantum physics ‘bits of zero used in our classical computers and the equivalent of binary values ​​- in a comprehensive experimental set beyond the university. economic means.

Lodahl Quantum Advantage Group

The team behind the new discovery of the Niels Bohr Institute in Copenhagen (Denmark). Credit: Niels Bohr Institute

“It would cost us 10 million euros to do a real experiment that controls 50 photons at a time, just like Google did with qubit superconductors. We can’t afford that. However, what scientific researchers can do is develop a photon source and use it to gain a ‘quantum advantage.’ we have developed the basic basis, ”explained Assistant Professor Ravitej Uppu, the lead author of the results.

“In the meantime, we will use our photon sources to develop new and advanced quantum simulators, such as complex biochemical problems that can be used to develop new drugs. So we are already preparing for the next steps in technology. Being in college allows us to lay the foundations of a technology and show opportunities. while continuous technological improvement requires greater investment, we will work to form a strong European consortium of academic and industrial partners with a view to building photonic quantum simulators with a “quantum advantage”, ”continues Peter Lodahl.

A promising future for increasing quantum computers

There are many schools in the world of qubit development of quantum computers, depending on which “quantum block” begins: atoms, electrons, or photons. Each platform has its pros and cons, and it’s hard to predict which technology will defeat it.

The main advantage of light-based quantum computers is that the technology is already available to upload to many qubits because of the availability of advanced photonic chips developed for the telecommunications industry. The main challenge in creating photon qubits has been to make them of relatively high quality. It was there that the Copenhagen researchers made progress.

“Denmark and Europe have a long tradition in the study of quantum optics, while at the same time having a strong telecommunications industry and infrastructure. It would be exciting to combine these forces in a large-scale initiative dedicated to photonic quantum computers. It would be fantastic to be part of a process that extends from basic quantum physics to new technological applications, ”says Peter Lodahl.

Data:

  • Researchers have developed a nanochip capable of producing hundreds of light particles (photons) that can be used to store huge amounts of data as quantum information.
  • The nanochip produces light particles containing information, and can be used as hardware in tomorrow’s quantum computers, in the same way that electrical transistors are used in today’s conventional computers.
  • The research is funded by the Danish National Research Foundation, the European Research Council and the Danish Agency for Science, Technology and Innovation and collaborates with Bochum University in Germany.

Reference: Ravitej Uppu, Freja T. Pedersen, Ying Wang, Cecilie T. Olesen, Camille Papon, Xiaoyan Zhou, Leonardo Midolo, Sven Scholz, Andreas D. Wieck, Arne Ludwig and Peter Lodahl, “Scalable integrated single-photon source”, 2020 December 9, Advances in science.
DOI: 10.1126 / sciadv.abc8268

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