They hope that their quantum computer chip will help physicists in their efforts to better understand and characterize quantum circuits.
According to Jeremy O'Brien, Director of the Centre for Quantum Photonics, the chip is just 70 mm by 3 mm in size and performs multiple experiments that "would each ordinarily be carried out on an optical bench the size of a large dining table." The device integrates a network of channels that route and manipulate light particles. There are eight configurable electrodes that enable the circuit to affect photon pairs and produce "any possible entangled state of two photons or any mixed state of one photon," the researchers claim.
"In order to build a quantum computer, we not only need to be able to control complex phenomena such as entanglement and mixture, but we need to be able to do this on a chip, so that we can scalably and practically duplicate many such miniature circuits—in much the same way as the modern computers we have today," said O'Brien. "Our device enables this and we believe it is a major step forward towards optical quantum computing."
The scientist have invested six years of development in their chip so far and now intend to scale its complexity.