With photonic quantum computing, this represents one branch of quantum computing research. This area studies the properties in photons of light, which can be applied to the encoding information as quantum bits into a light beam. The advantage is that since photons move at the speed of light they have the capability of retaining quantum correlations very well provided they are not absorbed. This is overcome by digitizing patterns of an electromagnetic field.
With the breakthrough, the Chinese research group discovered a means to boost the efficiency of photonic quantum memories to over 85 percent with a fidelity of over 99 percent. The scientists created this level of quantum memory by trapping billions of rubidium atoms into a tiny space. The atoms were then cooled down to close to absolute zero temperature (the lowest limit of the thermodynamic temperature scale) via the use of lasers and by deploying a magnetic field.
Commenting on the new speed breakthrough, lead researcher Professor Du Shengwang states: “In this work, we code a flying qubit onto the polarization of a single photon and store it into the laser-cooled atoms. Although the quantum memory demonstrated in this work is only for one qubit operation, it opens the possibility for emerging quantum technology and engineering in the future.” In quantum computing, a qubit is the basic unit of quantum information.
Assessing quantum memory is important since quantum memories are an essential component for quantum computers, and are tied to the computing power necessary for quantum computers to realize their full potential. Planned applications for ‘true’ quantum computers, when they emerge, include identifying new medications or helping to understand the nature of the universe.
The research is published in the journal Nature Photonics, with the peer reviewed study headed “Efficient quantum memory for single-photon polarization qubits.”
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