The quantum processor at the heart of the Quantum in the Cloud computer is a silicon micro-chip, but unlike a regular computer chip it does not use electricity conducted on small wires but instead uses quantum states of light called photons that are passed through wave guides. The wave guides behave like optical fibres and channel the photons around the chip.
The photons used in the circuit are generated using light from a blue laser (similar to that found in a blu-ray player). This is passed through a crystal which splits a single blue photon into two identical red daughter photons, conserving energy and momentum. These pairs of photons are then prepared into a path superposition and passed through the processor where they are entangled and manipulated. The output is measured using single photon detectors.
These experiments are performed in high-tech research laboratories using specialist equipment. However our new online link means that this quantum processor can be remotely controlled by anyone anywhere in the world. This will allow the next generation of engineers, mathematicians, scientists and entrepreneurs to run an experiment, and test real experimental data against their simulations, making the resources for quantum computing available for everybody. In the future we aim to have other photonic quantum processors and quantum technologies online for others to use.
It is worth noting that there are other ways of creating quantum states such as using trapped atoms or ions, or impurities within diamond. Read this comprehensive review article in nature (or free open access arxiv preprint version) to learn more about quantum photonics and other technologies.