Innovative Research by Physics Professor Published in Reputed Journal

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Professor Mark Tame.

An article by Associate Professor in the School of Chemistry and Physics, Professor Mark Tame, on his ground-breaking research concerning a new kind of quantum error correction has been published in the reputed Nature Communications journal.

Tame’s work could have huge implications for quantum information processing, which in turn offers incredible potential for computing and communication applications.

A theorist and experimentalist in quantum optics and quantum information in the Centre for Quantum Technology, Tame has focused his research on quantum nanophotonic systems.

He works on developing techniques to use quantum features of these systems to build devices for applications in quantum information processing.

Nature Communications is a high-impact journal with a wide, interdisciplinary readership in Physics, Chemistry and Biology. Publication in the journal ensures good coverage of the research to a large base of scientists.

The field of quantum information is highly interdisciplinary, making the publication the appropriate vehicle for speedy dissemination of the team’s work to researchers working in several areas connected with quantum information.

‘The research has many potential applications in quantum information processing, so it’s essential to share this information with the wider scientific community as rapidly as possible,’ said Tame.

Tame led the collaborative project between UKZN and researchers at the University of Bristol and the University of Bath in England, Telecom ParisTech in France and the National University of Singapore.

The collaboration covered in Tame’s article deals with errors which arise in the running of a quantum information protocol. The team addressed the problem of error-correcting schemes developed so far, which require huge overheads in resources not available to most physical systems.

The team reported the first experimental demonstration of a new kind of quantum error correction that uses compact resources known as graph states, which present a powerful approach to the problem of error correction. The experiment was performed at the University of Bristol, while the theory it is based on was developed at UKZN, Telecom ParisTech and the National University of Singapore.

‘Our results constitute a breakthrough in several respects,’ explained Tame. ‘We have experimentally demonstrated all the elements of a graph state quantum error-correcting code in a photonic setting, which has immediate applications for quantum communication.

‘On the other hand, the generation of a graph state followed by its careful manipulation via measurements are the essential building blocks for measurement-based quantum protocols, such as quantum computing. By performing a complete analysis of each step of our work, we demonstrate the feasibility of graph codes and more generally the newly introduced measurement-based paradigm for quantum computing.’

Tame obtained his PhD in Quantum information from Queen’s University Belfast in 2007, where he pioneered the use of small entangled photonic systems for realising quantum computing protocols. He has held research fellowship positions at Osaka University in Japan, Queen’s University Belfast and Imperial College in the United Kingdom.

He will continue with his research along the lines of that in the article by miniaturising the “bulk” optical setup used in this experiment so that the technology can be commercialised. This will allow scalable quantum information processing, for example quantum computing, to be realised.

Tame will undertake this process at UKZN through the Centre for Quantum Technology by designing and experimentally testing a new nanophotonics platform for quantum information processing known as plasmonics.

‘This involves the interaction between light and electrons – which have traditionally been used for classical information processing,’ he said. ‘The hybrid nature of this new type of optical-electronic system brings all sorts of benefits that I am hoping to exploit in my future research.’