Shining light in quantum computing

Sep 12, 2006

University of Queensland scientist Devon Biggerstaff is investigating ways to manipulate light in a process that will help shape future supercomputers and communication technology.

Future supercomputers called quantum computers, which will surpass conventional desktop machines in some processing tasks, could encode information as photons or minute particles of light.

These photons need to be entangled as twins that are linked in time and space but physically separate.

But creating these entangled photons using current methods is expensive and inefficient.

Mr Biggerstaff is about to experiment with different entangled photon production methods using engineered crystals, mirrors, lenses and beam splitters.

“Scientists need good sources of entangled photons but one can't simply press a button and create a pair of entangled photons,” Mr Biggerstaff said.

He said entangled photons could be used as a study tool to show the potential of quantum computing and allowing completely secure messaging through unbreakable quantum encryption.

Information could be sent via single photons replacing signals sent in groups of photons or pulses along fibre optic cable.

“A quantum computer, which is for now is a theoretical and far-off device, would be able to factor very large numbers or search large databases in a much more efficient manner than any classical computer.

“Quantum computation relies on the use of entangled quantum bits or qubits.

“Classical bits can only be in the state 0 or 1, whereas qubits can be in combinations of these two fundamental states and entangled.”

He said quantum encryption was not a new secret code but it would let either communicating party know of any outside eavesdropping.

Photon production methods could also be applied to quantum teleportation or information processing schemes which had been limited by source efficiency.

The 22-year-old from St Lucia is working with UQ's Centre for Quantum Computing Technology under Professor Andrew White.

He is one of 14 Americans granted a Fulbright postgraduate award scholarship in Australia.

“I was drawn to UQ largely on the strength of Professor White`s reputation as both a creative and prolific leader in this field and as a friendly, helpful, and fun mentor to his students.”

Source: University of Queensland

Explore further: New insights found in black hole collisions

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Understanding spectral properties of broadband biphotons

45 minutes ago

Advances in quantum optical technologies require scientists to control and exploit the properties of so-called biphotons. Biphotons occur when two photons become 'quantum-entangled' - spatially separate entities ...

3,000 atoms entangled with a single photon

20 hours ago

Physicists from MIT and the University of Belgrade have developed a new technique that can successfully entangle 3,000 atoms using only a single photon. The results, published today in the journal Nature, repres ...

Recommended for you

New insights found in black hole collisions

Mar 27, 2015

New research provides revelations about the most energetic event in the universe—the merging of two spinning, orbiting black holes into a much larger black hole.

X-rays probe LHC for cause of short circuit

Mar 27, 2015

The LHC has now transitioned from powering tests to the machine checkout phase. This phase involves the full-scale tests of all systems in preparation for beam. Early last Saturday morning, during the ramp-down, ...

Swimming algae offer insights into living fluid dynamics

Mar 27, 2015

None of us would be alive if sperm cells didn't know how to swim, or if the cilia in our lungs couldn't prevent fluid buildup. But we know very little about the dynamics of so-called "living fluids," those ...

Fluctuation X-ray scattering

Mar 26, 2015

In biology, materials science and the energy sciences, structural information provides important insights into the understanding of matter. The link between a structure and its properties can suggest new ...

Hydrodynamics approaches to granular matter

Mar 26, 2015

Sand, rocks, grains, salt or sugar are what physicists call granular media. A better understanding of granular media is important - particularly when mixed with water and air, as it forms the foundations of houses and off-shore ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.