Protecting or Nurturing Qubits by Using a Quantum Photonic Chip

Quantum states of particles are very fragile. The quantum bits, or qubits, that underpin quantum computing pick up errors very easily and are damaged by the environment of the everyday world. Fortunately, we know in principle how to correct for these errors.

Quantum error correcting codes are a method to protect, or to nurture qubits, by embedding them in a more robust entangled state of many particles. Now a team led by researchers at Bristol's Quantum Engineering and Technology Laboratories (QETLabs) has demonstrated this using a quantum photonic chip.

In this paper the team showed how large states of photons can contain individual logical qubits and protect they from the harmful effects of the classical world.

Paper abstract: General-purpose quantum computers can, in principle, entangle a number of noisy physical qubits to realize composite qubits protected against errors. Architectures for measurement-based quantum computing intrinsically support error-protected qubits and are the most viable approach for constructing an all-photonic quantum computer. Here we propose and demonstrate an integrated silicon photonic scheme that both entangles multiple photons, and encodes multiple physical qubits on individual photons, to produce error-protected qubits.

We realize reconfigurable graph states to compare several schemes with and without error-correction encodings and implement a range of quantum information processing tasks. We observe a success rate increase from 62.5% to 95.8% when running a phase-estimation algorithm without and with error protection, respectively. Finally, we realize hypergraph states, which are a generalized class of resource states that offer protection against correlated errors. Our results show how quantum error-correction encodings can be implemented with resource-efficient photonic architectures to improve the performance of quantum algorithms.

The paper is published in Nature Physics



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