Random Quantum Networks

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Science  12 Mar 2010:
Vol. 327, Issue 5971, pp. 1333-1334
DOI: 10.1126/science.1187084

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The interaction between light and matter at the quantum level offers intriguing ways to process and transport information [see, for example, (1)]. Experimental realizations of quantum computers are, however, still in their infancy. A major challenge is the realization of a qubit—the quantum version of a bit that entangles quantum states—that can be manipulated and coupled to other qubits. For example, one strategy for coupling light and matter places an atom or quantum dot in a tiny cavity, where it couples resonantly with the cavity's optical modes (2). Practical difficulties of this approach arise because a highly efficient cavity is needed, and it must also be exactly tuned to the emission frequency of the source. On page 1352 of this issue, Sapienza et al. report an approach that simplifies this problem enormously (3). They have created a photonic structure that intentionally is very disordered, in which efficient random cavities are formed at many frequencies.