SYDNEY, Nov. 2 (Xinhua) -- Australian scientists said on Friday that they have opened up a major pathway to use light toward the development of powerful quantum computers, pointing them to the forefront of the latest computing technology.
The research involves photon packets of light energy and logic gates, or the switches needed to operate algorithms written for quantum computers, according to a University of Sydney statement about its project.
"We can now propose a pathway to build robust entangled states for logic gates using protected pairs of photons," said the university's Andrea Blanco-Redondo who led the report on the research.
Photons offer advantages of being well isolated from the thermal and electromagnetic environment but their full application in quantum technology has so far been held back by scattering loss and other errors.
The researchers developed a novel lattice structure of silicon nanowires offering a particular symmetry that helps allow information to be transported in a robust manner.
Channels, or waveguides, made using silicon nanowires just 500 nanometers wide, were lined up in pairs with a deliberate defect in symmetry through the middle, creating two lattice structures with different topologies and a special intervening "edge", according to the researchers. The resulting topology allowed for the creation of special "edge modes" to help the photon pairing.
"This robustness stems from the underlying topology, a global property of the lattice that remains unchanged against disorder," said Blanco-Redondo who worked closely with Israeli scientists on the project. Their findings were published in academic journal Science.
"Dr Blanco-Redondo's result is exciting at a fundamental level because it shows the existence of protected modes attached to the boundary of a topologically ordered material," said Professor Stephen Bartlett from the university's Nano Institute research facility.
"What it means for quantum computing is unclear as it is still in early days. But the hope is that the protection offered by these edge modes could be used to protect photons from the types of noise that are problematic for quantum applications."