Startup scales photonic quantum processor

Technology News |
By Peter Clarke

The company is a spin-off from the University of Twente and further development has been enabled by an investment by Oost NL, the University of Twente and private investors. The size of the investment has not been disclosed.

The company was formed after University of Twente PhD student Caterina Taballione took the optical circuit that was integral to her thesis to Oxford Univeristy for post-doctoral researcher Jelmer Renema to use and hopefully demonstrate quantum processing. Taballione had used LioniX International’s TripleX silicon-nitride waveguide platform to create the circuit for her Ph.D.

Silicon-nitride waveguides forming an reconfigurable 8 input by 8 output integrated linear optical network have now been demonstrated. The array comprises units cells with phase shifters and tunable beam splitters connected by waveguides. As such the physical appearance has similarities to the electronic FPGA. A variety of photonic quantum information processing primitives, have been confirmed including Hong-Ou-Mandel interference, bosonic coalescence/anti-coalescence and high-dimensional single-photon quantum gates.

The path a photon takes through the array is programmable, but must be low loss. The calculation is done by photons that interfere and interact by quantum entanglement.

The TripleX platform operates across a broad optical spectrum from wavelengths of 405nm to 2350nm but conventionally operates with low loss using 1550nm wavelength laser light.

QuiX is now working on a 20 by 20 matrix processor, with the expectation of further scaling to follow.

Next: Target markets

Quantum computers have tremendous potential for solving specific types of problems that would be either very time and energy consuming or even intractable for conventional computers. Using the interference of quantum states allows much denser information and the finding or results in a highly parallel way.

While electronic quantum computers have been extensively studied, they require temperatures close to absolute zero, which itself adds a burden of complexity and power consumption. Photons however are essentially immune to thermal effects allowing quantum effects to be shown at room temperature.

QuiX is aiming its platform at hard-to-compute problem solving for scientists and industrial R&D.

Related links and articles:

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Canada invests in photonic quantum computation startup

 Google’s Sycamore quantum processor shows ‘supremacy’

Quantum computing near and disruptive, warns academic at Davos


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