Enabling Technologies for the Quantum Internet

Several major challenges remain to this day with respect to the technologies needed to realize the quantum computer. These include quantum transducers and quantum memories, technologies that the research team will focus on, with the goal of connecting remote quantum processors to form a quantum Internet.

The development of key elements for the quantum Internet would have a major impact on three main application pillars: secure communication, quantum computing and quantum sensors.

What is your project?

Our project, “Enabling Technologies for the Quantum Internet”, focuses on the development of key technologies for the realization of networks capable of linking quantum systems together. Just as the Internet has completely changed the way we live and interact; the quantum equivalent will allow us to connect and take full advantage of various quantum systems. However, to process information and transport it over large distances, it is often necessary to convert, copy and store it. In this context, one of the properties of quantum information becomes clearly apparent: it cannot be copied. It is then necessary to transduce this information between different quantum systems to process the information without destroying the quantum aspect. For this purpose, we will develop hybrid approaches combining optics, microwave circuits, mechanical systems, and solid-state spins – all of which operate in the quantum regime – to realize quantum memories and transducers. This ambitious project therefore brings together researchers with a wide range of expertise, both theoretical and experimental, thus fostering innovation and creativity.

Who are the members of your team and what expertise do they bring to the project?

Our ambition is to combine different quantum systems and advanced electronics to realize new hybrid devices. Our team therefore gathers members  with expertise in various fields of physics, engineering and computer science. Moreover, to integrate optimization strategies such as error control, the team also includes four theoreticians. Concretely, the research will be conducted by Alexandre Blais, Yves Bérubé-Lauzière, Serge Charlebois, Paul Charette, Eva Dupont-Ferrier, Max Hofheinz, Mathieu Juan, Stefanos Kourtis, Denis Morris, Michel Pioro-Ladrière, Jean-François Pratte, Baptiste Royer, Marc-André Tétrault, and Dave Touchette. The team brings together expertise in microwave quantum circuits, quantum information, advanced electronics, quantum optics and photonics, spins in solid-state systems, Josephson photonics, error correction, nanomaterials, and micromechanics.

How is your project ambitious (how does it differ from your usual projects)?

Our goal is to position Sherbrooke and the Institut quantique at the center of technological innovation in the quantum sector. As mentioned above, we aim to develop key systems for quantum information processing: memories and transducers. The challenges involved in this work in terms of materials, fabrication, instrumentation, and information processing are enormous. Moreover, given the central role of these two systems in the large-scale deployment of quantum technologies, the development race is global. It is rare to find such a high density of important challenges in a single research project. And because these challenges span a wide range of domains, the level of integration required in the work by team members far exceeds that of typical projects.

What is the role of the Institut quantique in your project?

Collaboration and scientific innovation are central concepts of the Institut quantique. Also, the IQ gathers many expert people around common research themes, especially concerning quantum technologies. This environment will therefore favor scientific interactions beyond the team of this project. Moreover, the new IQ building offers many spaces for discussion and collaboration as well as different experimental and theoretical laboratories that will undoubtedly play a key role in achieving the objectives of this project. To fully benefit from these important aspects, we will organize regular presentations of the project’s progress.

What will your project bring to society?

We propose to develop key systems for quantum information processing: memories and transducers. These systems are needed for quantum information processing as well as for quantum computing and information security aspects. For example, the possibility to connect several quantum processors would allow to realize distributed computing and thus reach sufficient performances to solve problems of societal interest such as the research of new pharmaceutical molecules or of economic interest such as the optimization of industrial chemical reactions.

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