‘Everyday’ Optical Fiber Taking Up Pivotal Role in Quantum Computing

Much is being made of quantum computing these days, and for good reason. It stands poised to revolutionize our digital world, and along with that making so much more possible with regards to improving the ability of the world to work together and add so much more reach and efficiency to a great deal of what we’re doing. The development of the technology has been a long time in the making, and it’s a cake that’s not quite bake yet. But one of the most important ingredients to it is one material that’s been commonplace and unexceptional for a long time now.

Optical fiber has been around for 50 years now, permitting transmissions over long distances with higher bandwidth levels. Just that part of the explanation should be all that’s needed to allow you to grasp the significance of what optical fiber has offered to us. And if you don’t even know exactly what they are then that’s fine too. A quick description – straight from Wikipedia – is to say that they are flexible, transparent fibers made by drawing silica glass or plastic to a diameter slightly thicker than that of a human hair.

A whole lot of goodness in very skinny package. Putting people in the know about things that will interest them is a small part of what makes us here at 4GoodHosting a good Canadian web hosting provider, and we think that a shout out to the potentially unsung hero of quantum computing is worth it here this week.

So let’s have a look at the role of optical fibers in quantum computing here, and maybe you’ll have a greater appreciation for them.

Integral to Massive Processing Power

So just how is that an ordinary telecommunications technology is so key to building superconducting quantum computers with massive processing power?

It started with tests measuring and controlling a superconducting quantum bit (qubit) using light-conducting fiber instead of metal electrical wires. The results which indicated that the optical fibers was able to pack a million qubits into a quantum computer rather than just a few thousand.

That’s a BIG jump in capacity, and as a result we’re now seeing superconducting circuits being a lead technology for making quantum computers because of reliability how they are easily mass produced. One hang up of sorts is that these circuits must operate at cryogenic temperatures, and wiring them to room-temperature electronics isn’t simple and there’s a real risk of overheating.

So with that in mind now process yourself how a universal quantum computer, is expected to need about 1 million qubits. Conventional existing infrastructure would only support thousands at most.

Optical fiber, on the other hand, features a glass or plastic core that can carry a high volume of light signals without conducting heat. Superconducting quantum computers use microwave pulses to store and process information though, and that creates a need for the light to be converted precisely to microwaves.

Optical fiber has been reworked to meet this need, and by combining it with a few other standard components that convert, convey and measure light at the level of single particles, or photons, this was made possible. The light is then easily converted into microwaves that showed themselves to be ideal for maintaining the integrity of the qubit’s fragile quantum states.

Long story short here – Optical fiber can also carry far more data in a much smaller volume than conventional cable.

With the new setup using an optical fiber instead of metal to guide light signals to cryogenic photodetectors, microwaves could be routed to the qubit through either the photonic link or a regular coaxial line.

Superconducting Metals

The functional key to the workings of the optical fiber here is that there are two superconducting metals separated by an insulator. Add a certain microwave frequency and the qubit is able to move between low-frequency and excited states without lag.

The frequency at which microwaves naturally bounce back and forth in the cavity, called the resonance frequency, is dependent on and defined by the qubit state. Plus, the frequency at which the qubit switches states depends on the number of photons in the cavity.

The hope with this technology is that quantum processors will be enabled for having optical fibers transmitting signals to and from the qubits, with each fiber capable of carrying thousands of signals to and from the qubit.

Soon-to-Be Applications

Much is being made of quantum computing these days, and for good reason. It stands poised to revolutionize our digital world, and along with that making so much more possible with regards to improving the ability of the world to work together and add so much more reach and efficiency to a great deal of what we’re doing. The development of the technology has been a long time in the making, and it’s a cake that’s not quite bake yet. But one of the most important ingredients to it is one material that’s been commonplace and unexceptional for a long time now.

Optical fiber has been around for 50 years now, permitting transmissions over long distances with higher bandwidth levels. Just that part of the explanation should be all that’s needed to allow you to grasp the significance of what optical fiber has offered to us. And if you don’t even know exactly what they are then that’s fine too. A quick description – straight from Wikipedia – is to say that they are flexible, transparent fibers made by drawing silica glass or plastic to a diameter slightly thicker than that of a human hair.

A whole lot of goodness in very skinny package. Putting people in the know about things that will interest them is a small part of what makes us here at 4GoodHosting a good Canadian web hosting provider, and we think that a shout out to the potentially unsung hero of quantum computing is worth it here this week.

So let’s have a look at the role of optical fibers in quantum computing here, and maybe you’ll have a greater appreciation for them.

Integral to Massive Processing Power

So just how is that an ordinary telecommunications technology is so key to building superconducting quantum computers with massive processing power?

It started with tests measuring and controlling a superconducting quantum bit (qubit) using light-conducting fiber instead of metal electrical wires. The results which indicated that the optical fibers was able to pack a million qubits into a quantum computer rather than just a few thousand.

That’s a BIG jump in capacity, and as a result we’re now seeing superconducting circuits being a lead technology for making quantum computers because of reliability how they are easily mass produced. One hang up of sorts is that these circuits must operate at cryogenic temperatures, and wiring them to room-temperature electronics isn’t simple and there’s a real risk of overheating.

So with that in mind now process yourself how a universal quantum computer, is expected to need about 1 million qubits. Conventional existing infrastructure would only support thousands at most.

Optical fiber, on the other hand, features a glass or plastic core that can carry a high volume of light signals without conducting heat. Superconducting quantum computers use microwave pulses to store and process information though, and that creates a need for the light to be converted precisely to microwaves.

Optical fiber has been reworked to meet this need, and by combining it with a few other standard components that convert, convey and measure light at the level of single particles, or photons, this was made possible. The light is then easily converted into microwaves that showed themselves to be ideal for maintaining the integrity of the qubit’s fragile quantum states.

Long story short here – Optical fiber can also carry far more data in a much smaller volume than conventional cable.

With the new setup using an optical fiber instead of metal to guide light signals to cryogenic photodetectors, microwaves could be routed to the qubit through either the photonic link or a regular coaxial line.

Superconducting Metals

The functional key to the workings of the optical fiber here is that there are two superconducting metals separated by an insulator. Add a certain microwave frequency and the qubit is able to move between low-frequency and excited states without lag.

The frequency at which microwaves naturally bounce back and forth in the cavity, called the resonance frequency, is dependent on and defined by the qubit state. Plus, the frequency at which the qubit switches states depends on the number of photons in the cavity.

The hope with this technology is that quantum processors will be enabled for having optical fibers transmitting signals to and from the qubits, with each fiber capable of carrying thousands of signals to and from the qubit.

Soon-to-Be Applications

Quantum computing experts predict that this year the technology is going to make some very visible inroads. One of them is the predicted first public acknowledgment of the quantum crypto break, where quantum computers become capable of breaking traditional public key crypto. More to what the average person will relate to, there will also greater numbers of quantum devices like quantum random generators and quantum key distribution, made more cheaply and appearing as subcomponents in more devices like smartphones and personal computing devices. 

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