Photonic quantum simulators


Quantum simulators are controllable quantum systems that can be used to mimic other quantum systems. They have the potential to enable the tackling of problems that are intractable on conventional computers. The photonic quantum technology available today is reaching the stage where significant advantages arise for the simulation of interesting problems in quantum chemistry, quantum biology and solid-state physics. In addition, photonic quantum systems also offer the unique benefit of being mobile over free space and in waveguide structures, which opens new perspectives to the field by enabling the natural investigation of quantum transport phenomena. Here, we review recent progress in the field of photonic quantum simulation, which should break the ground towards the realization of versatile quantum simulators.

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Figure 1: First quantum chemistry experiment on a quantum information processor.
Figure 2: Schematic of the photonic quantum simulation of delocalized chemical bonds.
Figure 3: Photonic quantum circuits for the simulation of quantum and quantum stochastic walks.


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We thank I. Kassal, P. Love, and S. Barz for careful comments on the manuscript and B. Lanyon, A. Fedrizzi and A. White for providing images. M. Tillman, M. Tomandl and L. Kaye prepared the graphics for the manuscript. A.A-G. also acknowledges support from the National Science Foundation under the Center for Chemical Innovation (CCI) programme (CHE-1037992), as well as the Camille and Henry Dreyfus and Sloan Foundations for support. P.W. acknowledges support from the European Commission, QESSENCE (No 248095), the John Templeton Foundation, the Austrian Nano-initiative NAP Platon, the Austrian Science Fund (FWF): [SFB-FOCUS] and [Y585-N20] and the doctoral programme CoQuS, and from the Air Force Office of Scientific Research, Air Force Material Command, USAF, under grant number FA8655-11-1-3004.

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Correspondence to Alán Aspuru-Guzik or Philip Walther.

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Aspuru-Guzik, A., Walther, P. Photonic quantum simulators. Nature Phys 8, 285–291 (2012).

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