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'indistinguishable Photons' Could ­nleash Quantum Computing

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n this illustration, one photon (purple) carries a million times the energy of another (yellow).

Researchers in Japan have developed a new way to generate identical photons.

Credit: Aurore Simonnet/Sonoma State University/NASA

Researchers at the University of Tsukuba and the National Institute for Materials Science in Japan have developed a new way to generate indistinguishable photons by testing nitrogen luminescence impurity centers within III-V compound semiconductors.

The elements within those centers enable an "isoelectronic trap," which produces photons that contain the same energy, rendering them indistinguishable.

The researchers say the technique is potentially faster and more accommodating of the photons' homogeneity.

"Our goal is to be able to provide many photon sources that generate indistinguishable photons in an integrated form in a semiconductor chip," says the University of Tsukuba's Michio Ikezawa.

The researchers note the level of indistinguishability they achieved could be higher, and they plan to comprehensively ascertain the interference mechanisms and develop methods to counter them.

The research could lead to a new standard for creating identical photons, surpassing and improving on the use of quantum dots to power next-generation artificial intelligence.

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