News and Commentaries
Quantum advantage based on photonics
Val Zwiller
The recent quantum advantage demonstration by J.-W. Pan’s group at University of Science and Technology of China (USTC), based on a quantum optics experiment with 76 photons and a 100-mode interferometer,1 is a major step in the development of quantum technologies. Prior to this breakthrough, photonics was generally not seen as a leading contender in quantum computing.2 Several important advantages over superconducting-based implementations have made this work possible: optical photons allow for operation at far higher temperatures, do not suffer from decoherence, can be generated in various entangled states, and allow for long distance communication. The current achievement is based on the calculation of a Torontonian, an intensive mathematical task that would have required an overwehlmingly long time for a supercomputer but took only seconds for Pan’s quantum photonics device. Solving problems of scientific and societal relevance, such as the simulation of quantum systems to design new materials or the factorization of large numbers, as well as realizing a reconfigurable device, remains however to be done.

Advanced Photonics
  • Publication Date: Jan. 23, 2021
  • Vol. 3 Issue 1 010501 (2021)