Saturday, October 1, 2022

Researchers find the missing photonic link to enable a silicon quantum internet

SFU researchers find missing photonic link to enable a silicon quantum internet

A single central qubit T on the silicon lattice (render), which supports the first single spin to be optically observed on the silicon. The constituents of the T center (two carbon atoms and one hydrogen atom) are shown in orange, and the optically addressable electron spin is in bright light blue. Credit: Photonic

Researchers at Simon Fraser University have made a crucial breakthrough in the development of quantum technology.

His research, published in Nature today, describes its observations of more than 150,000 rotating qubits of silicon “T-center” photons, a major milestone that opens up immediate opportunities to build massively scalable quantum computers and the quantum internet that will connect them.

Quantum computing has enormous potential to provide computational power far beyond the capabilities of today’s supercomputers, which could enable advances in many other fields, including chemistry, materials science, medicine, and cybersecurity.

To make this a reality, it is necessary to produce stable, long-lived qubits that provide processing power, as well as the communication technology that allows these qubits to connect at scale.

Previous research has indicated that silicon can produce some of the most stable and long-lasting qubits in the industry. Now, research published by Daniel Higginbottom, Alex Kurkjian and co-authors provides proof of principle that T centers, a specific luminescent defect in silicon, can provide a “photonic link” between qubits. This comes from the SFU Silicon Quantum Technology Laboratory in the SFU Department of Physics, co-led by Stephanie Simmons, Canada Research Chair in Silicon Quantum Technologies and Michael Thewalt, Professor Emeritus.

SFU researchers find missing photonic link to enable a silicon quantum internet

An array of integrated photonic devices, used to perform the first all-optical single-spin measurement on silicon. A single luminescent spin is rendered at the center of each ‘micropuck’. A spiral arrow indicates the photonic coupling of one of these spin qubits. Credit: Photonic

“This work is the first measurement of isolated T centers and, in fact, the first measurement of any single spin in silicon to be performed with optical measurements alone,” says Stephanie Simmons.

“An emitter like the T-center, which combines high-performance spin qubits and optical photon generation, is ideal for making scalable and distributed quantum computers because they can handle processing and communications together, rather than having to interface with two different quantum technologies, one for processing and one for communications,” says Simmons.

In addition, T centers have the advantage of emitting light at the same wavelength that current metro fiber communications and telecommunications network equipment use.

SFU researchers find missing photonic link to enable a silicon quantum internet

An optical microscope image of an array of integrated photonic devices used to perform the first all-optical single-spin measurement on silicon. Tens of thousands of these ‘micropuck’ devices were manufactured on a single silicon photonic chip. Credit: Photonic

“With T centers, you can build quantum processors that inherently communicate with other processors,” says Simmons. “When your silicon qubit can communicate by emitting photons (light) in the same band used in data centers and fiber networks, you get those same benefits for connecting the millions of qubits needed for quantum computing.”

The development of quantum technology using silicon offers opportunities to rapidly scale quantum computing. The global semiconductor industry is already able to manufacture silicon computer chips at scale cheaply, with an impressive degree of precision. This technology forms the backbone of modern computing and networks, from smartphones to the world’s most powerful supercomputers.

  • SFU researchers find missing photonic link to enable a silicon quantum internet

    The data reveal the first optical observation of spins in silicon. Scans from two single-rotation lasers reveal characteristic spin-split central peaks; here the experimental data is visualized as an extruded mosaic. Credit: Photonic

  • SFU researchers find missing photonic link to enable a silicon quantum internet

    The data reveal the first optical observation of spins in silicon. Scans from two single-rotation lasers reveal characteristic spin-split central peaks; here the experimental data is visualized as a tiled heat map. Credit: Photonic

“By finding a way to build quantum computing processors in silicon, you can leverage all the years of development, knowledge, and infrastructure used to make conventional computers, rather than creating a whole new industry for quantum manufacturing,” says Simmons. “This represents an almost insurmountable competitive advantage in the international race for a quantum computer.”


An entangled state of three qubits was realized in a fully controllable array of spin qubits in silicon


More information:
Stephanie Simmons, Optical observation of single spins in silicon, Nature (2022). DOI: 10.1038/s41586-022-04821-y. www.nature.com/articles/s41586-022-04821-y

Provided by Simon Fraser University

Quote: Researchers find missing photonic link to enable a silicon quantum internet (2022, July 13) retrieved July 14, 2022 at https://phys.org/news/2022-07-photonic-link-enable-all -silicon- quantum.html

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