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Pasqal, PANDA partners eye photonic quantum computer innovations – Inside Quantum Technology


By Dan O’Shea posted 18 Oct 2023

France’s Pasqal has aligned with several other European parties to create “the building blocks” for a photonic quantum computer powered by neutral atom technology, a project which already has earned a Pathfinder-2023 challenge grant from the European Innovation Council (EIC).

Pasqal is teaming with France’s Sorbonne Université, Germany’s Pixel Photonics GmbH, Spain’s Institute of Photonic Sciences (ICFO), and Institut d’Optique Théorique et Appliquée (IOTA) in France  for a consortium called PANDA (find out more about what that means at this link.) The EIC already participated in Pasqal’s $100 million funding round announced earlier this year.

The PANDA consortium proposes to build the foundations of a photonic quantum computer “through the interaction between quantum of light—or photons—with a specially ordered assembly of neutral atoms,” according to a Pasqal statement, which added that the company’s architecture “uses highly focused lasers called optical tweezers to manipulate neutral atoms and arrange them in 2D and 3D arrays of any configuration.” 

The project is being coordinated by the Multimode Quantum Optics group at Sorbonne Université, the partners’ work will involve using “the power of neutral atoms to develop the foundations of a quantum processor that will use light as the carrier of quantum information, using a promising approach known as continuous variable quantum computing. This approach to quantum computing relies on the wave-like nature of light rather than discrete quantum bits associated to the particle behavior,” according to the statement, which added that the project addresses the fact that photon particles do not interact with one another naturally, “a feature that represents a big challenge to build quantum processing units, since interactions are required to carry out operations and create quantum circuits.”

Pasqal CTO Loïc Henriet stated, “As leaders in neutral atoms quantum processing, we are excited to be part of this consortium. Innovations to our technology will help push forward quantum computing, together with experts in photonics. We are convinced that our atoms, provided by nature, will be optimal in this undertaking.”

Wladick Hartmann, CTO Pixel Photonics, added, “Providing a toolbox for the deterministic creation of exotic states of light will enable new and exciting quantum computing schemes. We are thrilled to provide the necessary innovation in photon detection to enable this new and exciting approach.”

“This project is very exciting scientifically, as it addresses one of the main bottlenecks of the otherwise very promising platform of quantum computing with non-classical light,” said Nicolas Treps, Professor at Sorbonne Université, Multimode Quantum Optics group, and coordinator of the project.

Dan O’Shea has covered telecommunications and related topics including semiconductors, sensors, retail systems, digital payments and quantum computing/technology for over 25 years.


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