The evolution of bosons undergoing arbitrary linear unitary transformations quickly becomes hard to predict using classical computers as we increase the number of particles and modes. Photons propagating in a multiport interferometer naturally solve this so-called boson sampling problem1, thereby motivating the development of technologies that enable precise control of multiphoton interference in large interferometers2,3,4. Here, we use novel three-dimensional manufacturing techniques to achieve simultaneous control of all the parameters describing an arbitrary interferometer. We implement a small instance of the boson sampling problem by studying three-photon interference in a five-mode integrated interferometer, confirming the quantum-mechanical predictions. Scaled-up versions of this set-up are a promising way to demonstrate the computational advantage of quantum systems over classical computers. The possibility of implementing arbitrary linear-optical interferometers may also find applications in high-precision measurements and quantum communication5.
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This work was supported by the ERC-Starting Grant 3D-QUEST (3D-Quantum Integrated Optical Simulation; grant agreement no. 307783): http://www.3dquest.eu. D.B. and E.G. acknowledge support from the Brazilian National Institute for Science and Technology of Quantum Information (INCT-IQ/CNPq). The authors acknowledge support from G. Milani in assessing the data acquisition system.
The authors declare no competing financial interests.
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Crespi, A., Osellame, R., Ramponi, R. et al. Integrated multimode interferometers with arbitrary designs for photonic boson sampling. Nature Photon 7, 545–549 (2013). https://doi.org/10.1038/nphoton.2013.112
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