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Research Update: Multiple Steps Toward the 'quantum Singularity'

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quantum singularity, illustration

Credit: Christine Daniloff / MIT News

Four groups of researchers from the University of Queensland, the University of Vienna, the University of Oxford, and Polytechnic University of Milan recently reported the completion of an experiment that involves generating individual photons and synchronizing their passage through a maze of optical components so they reach a battery of photon detectors at the same time.

The researchers' work built on a proposal by Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) researchers Scott Aaronson and Alex Arkhipov. The MIT researchers proposed a network of beam splitters, which are optical devices used to split an optical signal in half and route it down separate fibers. However, in the new experiments the researchers built their networks on individual chips, using channels known as waveguides to route the photons. Where two waveguides come close enough together, a photon can spontaneously jump from one to the other, mimicking the behavior caused by a beam splitter.

Although performing quantum calculations would require a network of hundreds of beam splitters, the new experiments used networks of about 10 beam splitters, with four or five channels leading in and three or four photons, which means the research demonstrates a proof of principle, but not the quantum singularity.

From MIT News 
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Abstracts Copyright © 2013 Information Inc., Bethesda, Maryland, USA


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