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New Type of Supercomputer Could Be Based on 'magic Dust' Combination of Light and Matter

Creating polariton condensates in the vertices of an arbitrary graph and reading out the quantum phases that represent the absolute minimum of an XY Model.

A type of magic dust that combines light and matter can be used to solve complex problems, and could eventually surpass the capabilities of even the most powerful supercomputers.

Credit: Kirill Kalinin

A joint U.K.-Russian research team has demonstrated the use of quantum particles called polaritons, combining light and matter, to solve complex problems.

The researchers say this design could serve as a platform for a new type of supercomputer.

Polaritons are generated by targeting a laser at stacked layers of selected atoms such as gallium, arsenic, indium, and aluminum. The electrons in these layers absorb and discharge light of a specific color, and polaritons are 10,000 times lighter than electrons and may achieve sufficient densities to cohere into a new state of matter in which their quantum phases synchronize and produce a single macroscopic quantum object that is detectable via photoluminescence measurement.

The researchers applied this scheme to an optimization problem, specifically the minimization of the XY model. They subsequently demonstrated that as polaritons condense, their quantum phases configure themselves into an arrangement corresponding to the absolute minimum of the objective function.

From University of Cambridge
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