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Bristol University researchers make major quantum technology breakthrough developing new optical chip

14 August 2015

Bristol University researchers make a major quantum technology breakthrough developing new optical chip

A team of researchers from Bristol University have made a major breakthrough in quantum technology working alongside a Japanese company.

They have developed an optical chip which processes photons in an infinite number of ways.

The breakthrough has been compared with the creation of the microprocessor inside a computer, a single multipurpose chip that has revolutionised people’s life, allowing them to use one machine to surf the web, check emails and keep track of finances. 

The researchers from the University of Bristol working with Nippon Telegraph and Telephone (NTT) in Japan, have pulled off the same feat for light in the quantum world. 

It’s a major step forward in creating a quantum computer to solve problems such as designing new drugs, super-fast database searches, and performing otherwise intractable mathematics that aren’t possible for super computers. 

Dr Anthony Laing, who led the project, said: “A whole field of research has essentially been put onto a single optical chip that is easily controlled.

“The implications of the work go beyond the huge resource savings.

“Now anybody can run their own experiments with photons, much like they operate any other piece of software on a computer. They no longer need to convince a physicist to devote many months of their life to painstakingly build and conduct a new experiment.”

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