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Experimental demonstration of topological error correction


Scalable quantum computing can be achieved only if quantum bits are manipulated in a fault-tolerant fashion. Topological error correction—a method that combines topological quantum computation with quantum error correction—has the highest known tolerable error rate for a local architecture. The technique makes use of cluster states with topological properties and requires only nearest-neighbour interactions. Here we report the experimental demonstration of topological error correction with an eight-photon cluster state. We show that a correlation can be protected against a single error on any quantum bit. Also, when all quantum bits are simultaneously subjected to errors with equal probability, the effective error rate can be significantly reduced. Our work demonstrates the viability of topological error correction for fault-tolerant quantum information processing.

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Figure 1: Topological cluster states.
Figure 2: Cluster state | G 8 > and its cell complex.
Figure 3: Experimental set-up for the generation of the eight-photon cluster state and the demonstration of topological error correction.
Figure 4: Experimental results for the created eight-photon cluster state.
Figure 5: Experimental results of syndrome correlations for topological error correction.
Figure 6: Experimental results of topological error correction.


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We acknowledge discussions with M. A. Martin-Delgado and O. Gühne. We are grateful to X.-H. Bao for his original idea of the ultrabright entanglement and to C.-Z. Peng for his idea of reducing high-order emission. We would also like to thank C. Liu and S. Fölling for their help in designing the figures. This work has been supported by the NNSF of China, the CAS, the National Fundamental Research Program (under grant no. 2011CB921300) and NSERC.

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Authors and Affiliations



W.-B.G., A.G.F., R.R., Z.-B.C., Y.-J.D. and J.-W.P. had the idea for and initiated the experiment. A.G.F., R.R. and Y.-J.D. contributed to the general theoretical work. X.-C.Y., C.-Y.L., Y.-A.C. and J.-W.P. designed the experiment. X.-C.Y., T.-X.W. and H.-Z.C. carried out the experiment. X.-C.Y. and Y.-A.C. analysed the data. X.-C.Y., A.G.F., R.R., N.-L.L., C.-Y.L., Y.-J.D., Y.-A.C. and J.-W.P. wrote the manuscript. N.-L.L., Y.-A.C. and J.-W.P. supervised the whole project.

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Correspondence to Yu-Ao Chen or Jian-Wei Pan.

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The authors declare no competing financial interests.

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This file contains Supplementary Text and Data, Supplementary Figures 1-2 with legends and additional references. (PDF 176 kb)

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Yao, XC., Wang, TX., Chen, HZ. et al. Experimental demonstration of topological error correction. Nature 482, 489–494 (2012).

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