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PASQAL Announces Partnership to Develop the Foundations of a Photonic Quantum Processor Powered by Neutral Atom Technology

PASQAL, a leader in neutral atoms quantum computing, today announced a collaboration with Sorbonne Université, France; Pixel Photonics GmbH (PIX), Germany; The Institute of Photonic Sciences (ICFO), Spain; and Institut d'Optique Théorique et Appliquée (IOTA), France to building the essential foundations for a photonic quantum computer powered by neutral atom technology. The project will be funded by the Pathfinder-2023 challenge grant of the European Innovation Council.

Coordinated by the Multimode Quantum Optics group, at Sorbonne Université, the collaboration will use the power of neutral atoms to develop the foundations of a quantum processor that will use light as the carrier of quantum information, using a promising approach known as continuous variable quantum computing. This approach to quantum computing relies on the wave-like nature of light rather than discrete quantum bits associated to the particle behavior.

Light has the intrinsic ability to carry large amounts of information over long distances with low loss rates, operating at room temperature. These properties make light a great candidate for scalable quantum computers. However, photons, the particles of light, do not interact with each other naturally, a feature that represents a big challenge to build quantum processing units, since interactions are required to carry out operations and create quantum circuits.

The PANDA consortium aims at building the foundations of a photonic quantum computer through the interaction between quantum of light—or photons— with a specially ordered assembly of neutral atoms. PASQAL architecture uses highly focused lasers called optical tweezers to manipulate neutral atoms and arrange them in 2D and 3D arrays of any configuration.

“As leaders in neutral atoms quantum processing, we are excited to be part of this consortium. Innovations to our technology will help push forward quantum computing, together with experts in photonics. We are convinced that our atoms, provided by nature, will be optimal in this undertaking,” says Loïc Henriet, CTO at PASQAL.

The technique under development by the consortium will enable them to manufacture exotic states of light with unprecedented efficiency by putting together their expertise in engineering and studying both atomic ensemble and quantum light. Combining with novel high-efficiency light detection with advances in nano-photonics, the PANDA partnership will develop the building blocks of photonic quantum computing.

Wladick Hartmann, CTO Pixel Photonics: “Providing a toolbox for the deterministic creation of exotic states of light will enable new and exciting quantum computing schemes. We are thrilled to provide the necessary innovation in photon detection to enable this new and exciting approach.”

“This project is very exciting scientifically, as it addresses one of the main bottlenecks of the otherwise very promising platform of quantum computing with non-classical light,” says Nicolas Treps, Professor at Sorbonne Université, Multimode Quantum Optics group, and coordinator of the project.

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