Physicists Build the First Quantum Interface

By linking a single ion with a single proton, physicists at the University of Innsbruck have established the first quantum interface between quantum processors and optical information channels. 

What's the Latest Development?


Physicists at the University of Innsbruck have taken an essential step toward creating quantum computers, which may prove vastly more powerful than today's chip-based technology. By creating a network that interfaces between a single ion and a single proton, in a way that is both "efficient and freely tunable," the physicists have created the first link between quantum processors and optical information channels. "At the core of the experiment lies an optical resonator consisting of two highly reflective mirrors. Photons bounce back and forth up to 25,000 times between these mirrors, interacting with the ion, before escaping through one mirror into an optical fiber."

What's the Big Idea?

Unlike classical information, quantum data cannot be copied without being corrupted, thus physicists must find a way to transfer the data between matter and light using entanglement, "the quantum property in which the state of one particle depends on the state of a second." Tracy Northup of the University of Innsbruck's Institute for Experimental Physics said: "Whenever we have to transfer quantum information from processing sites to communication channels, and vice versa, we’re going to need an interface between light and matter." Having a better understanding of this essential interface may help to develop quantum computers as well as a quantum Internet. 

Photo credit: Shutterstock.com

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