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New Optical Chip Lights ­p the Race For Quantum Computer

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The silicon-based quantum optics lab-on-a-chip.

Researchers at the University of Bristol and Nippon Telegraph and Telephone say they have developed a multipurpose, reprogrammable optical chip.

Credit: University of Bristol News

Researchers at Britain's University of Bristol and Nippon Telegraph and Telephone in Japan say they have made a major breakthrough in quantum computing: the development of a multipurpose, reprogrammable optical chip that can carry out experiments that would have taken months in just hours.

One of the major factors holding back the development of quantum computers is the need to build out the apparatus for every experiment, a time-consuming process. However, the researchers say their new chip will do away with this tedious chore. "A whole field of research has essentially been put onto a single optical chip that is easily controlled," says lead researcher Anthony Laing with the University of Bristol. "The implications of the work go beyond the huge resource savings. Now anybody can run their own experiments with photons, much like they operate any other piece of software on a computer. They no longer need to convince a physicist to devote many months of their life to painstakingly build and conduct a new experiment."

The chip and others like it also are going to be put to work in the university's Quantum in the Cloud service, which will make a quantum processor publicly accessible.

From University of Bristol News
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