Studying entanglement is paramount to understanding and developing a quantum computer. At the IQC, I’ve managed to invent a device that makes it easier to experiment with this phenomenon. This whole idea started originally as an
idea at the, you know, final lens of my PhD thesis which I did here at the University of Waterloo. Photon entanglement is very
important for several reasons. First of all it is a very fundamental
feature of quantum mechanics. It’s essentially at the core of those mysteries which we don’t understand actually and
it’s very exciting from a fundamental aspect but it’s also very important for applications. It can be used in quantum computing, for example. It’s an important tool. It’s useful for secure communications by doing quantum cryptography. It can even be useful one day for metrology, improving measurements or telescopes. Rolf’s device is very interesting because it would enable us to use, to experiment and use entangled photons in our experiments and setups but without having to build our individual sources, you know, which are costly and big to set up. However, because this device from Rolf is small and compact and robust, it would just simplify the life in our research. And so once we have these two photons we can entangle them but the trick here is to interfere them later on to remove information from the system and sort of confuse nature and that is a
difficult thing to do and the reason why it is difficult is because it often involves an interferometer Interferometers are insanely difficult to create. I take that last component, the interference, and I make that completely user friendly. In other words, no one has to create an interferometer anymore in the lab, in the method that they used to do. So the interference will occur in a very compact setting. It brings down the cost, the effective cost, of obtaining a device like that. And what that does is makes this type of device, or this type of experiment, or even this type of work, more accessible. I think there is a lot of value in people who aren’t necessarily experts in quantum information design who might have an idea as how to use this device. Or who will be able to play with it and look at the results and contribute. The community has been very supportive in Waterloo. Industries have been very supportive and that just makes a perfect, that makes the perfect storm to get things going. You can’t just do it by yourself. So it can be widely used for let’s say a visiting student or even school classes visiting and taking a look at it. It is also very good for IQC to work on such a device because one of the mandates of IQC is also to advance the quantum science research and quantum science as a whole. We’ll accelerate the path to quantum computing by having more and more of these devices being available to everybody.