Australian researchers have managed to faultlessly transport data in the form of entangled quantum bits using a novel device that paves the way for a future quantum data bus.
The breakthrough experiment, described in the latest issue of the journal Nature Communications, involved a quantum processor capable of routing quantum information from different locations.
"The perfect state transfer has emerged as a promising technique for data routing in large-scale quantum computers," explained Alberto Peruzzo, Director of the Quantum Photonics Laboratory of the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (RMIT), who led the joint research project with the South University of Science and Technology of China and Italy’s CNR research centre.
"The last 10 years has seen a wealth of theoretical proposals, but until now it has never been experimentally realised. Our device uses highly optimised quantum tunnelling to relocate qubits between distant sites. It's a breakthrough that has the potential to open up quantum computing in the near future."
Ability to transfer quantum data between locations is one of the key prerequisites for the development of quantum computers. However, the task is complicated due to the fragile nature of the quantum states.
"We experimentally relocate qubits, encoded in single particles of light, between distant locations," said RMIT PhD student Robert Chapman.
"During the protocol, the fragile quantum state is maintained and, critically, entanglement is preserved, which is key for quantum computing."
He further added that the team is confident the technique could be implemented on a much larger scale.
"Quantum computers promise to solve vital tasks that are currently unmanageable on today's standard computers and the need to delve deeper in this area has motivated a worldwide scientific and engineering effort to develop quantum technologies," Peruzzo said.
"It could make the critical difference for discovering new drugs, developing a perfectly secure quantum Internet and even improving facial recognition.''
Full scale quantum computers will contain millions, if not billions, of quantum bits (qubits) all interconnected, to achieve computational power undreamed of today.