Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Air Force Researchers are Building Simple Quantum Computers Out of Holograms

Quantum Computing with Holograms Just like that 
Warner A. Miller, Grigoriy Kreymerman, 
Christopher Tison, Paul M. Alsing, 
Jonathan R. McDonald via arXiv

In a paper far too daunting for a Monday, researchers at the Air Force Research Lab (AFRL) have described a novel way to build a simple quantum computer. The idea: rather than using a bunch of finicky interferometers in series to measure the inputs and outputs of data encoded in photons, they want to freeze their interferometers in glass using holograms, making their properties more stable.

Quantum computing requires encoding information into a quantum medium, and light is the most obvious choice. Photons don’t have mass and therefore don’t interact much with external forces; things like electrical interference or magnetic fields don’t mess with the quantum state, and photons travel straight through transparent matter (like fiber optic cable or ambient air). But light is also a bit tricky because photons don’t interact with each other well either. Processing information in a photon at the receiving end can be particularly problematic.                       More