Waks Leads NSF Quantum Photonic Processors Project

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Professor Edo Waks

In a collaboration with researchers from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, University of Maryland Electrical and Computer Engineering Professor Edo Waks (JQI/IREAP/QTC) has been awarded a three-year, $525K National Science Foundation grant as the Principal Investigator to study “Quantum Communication with Loss-Protected Photonic Encoding.” 

Errors are inevitable in all computing and communication applications. But quantum computers and networks are extremely sensitive to errors and noise which can rapidly accumulate and destroy delicate quantum signals. Quantum error correcting codes are therefore essential for scalable and robust quantum computation and communication. The objective of this program is to create a semiconductor chip that can implement quantum error correcting codes using light. Such chips could open up the possibility for long-distance quantum networks and photonic quantum computers.

To address this challenging goal, the researchers will combine state-of-the-art quantum light sources and nonlinearities with foundry-based silicon photonics, a scalable platform compatible with off-the-shelf electronics. By combining these technologies on a single chip, the researchers will develop monolithic devices that can generate and process single photons. These devices will operate at the technologically important telecommunications band and could potentially interface with existing infrastructure to develop continental-scale unconditionally secure communication networks. Success of the program goals could also enable next generation quantum algorithms advancing drug design, materials science, and big data—all at a scale where classical machines can no longer keep pace.

Published October 2, 2019