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Thursday, June 10, 2010

Practical Optical Quantum Computers

An article in Nature explores the use of ELEDs in optical quantum computers.

An optical quantum computer, powerful enough to solve problems so far intractable using conventional digital logic, requires a large number of entangled photons1, 2. At present, entangled-light sources are optically driven with lasers3, 4, 5, 6, 7, which are impractical for quantum computing owing to the bulk and complexity of the optics required for large-scale applications. Parametric down-conversion is the most widely used source of entangled light, and has been used to implement non-destructive quantum logic gates8, 9. However, these sources are Poissonian4, 5 and probabilistically emit zero or multiple entangled photon pairs in most cycles, fundamentally limiting the success probability of quantum computational operations. These complications can be overcome by using an electrically driven on-demand source of entangled photon pairs10, but so far such a source has not been produced. Here we report the realization of an electrically driven source of entangled photon pairs, consisting of a quantum dot embedded in a semiconductor light-emitting diode (LED) structure. We show that the device emits entangled photon pairs under d.c. and a.c. injection, the latter achieving an entanglement fidelity of up to 0.82. Entangled light with such high fidelity is sufficient for application in quantum relays11, in core components of quantum computing such as teleportation12, 13, 14, and in entanglement swapping15, 16. The a.c. operation of the entangled-light-emitting diode (ELED) indicates its potential function as an on-demand source without the need for a complicated laser driving system; consequently, the ELED is at present the best source on which to base future scalable quantum information applications17.

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