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Confining the state of light to a quantum manifold by engineered two-photon loss

Science  20 Feb 2015:
Vol. 347, Issue 6224, pp. 853-857
DOI: 10.1126/science.aaa2085

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A way to induce quantum stability

Dynamical systems, whether classical or quantum, usually require a method to stabilize performance and maintain the required state. For instance, communication between computers requires error correction codes to ensure that information is transferred correctly. In a quantum system, however, the very act of measuring it can perturb it. Leghtas et al. show that engineering the interaction between a quantum system and its environment can induce stability for the delicate quantum states, a process that could simplify quantum information processing.

Science, this issue p. 853

Abstract

Physical systems usually exhibit quantum behavior, such as superpositions and entanglement, only when they are sufficiently decoupled from a lossy environment. Paradoxically, a specially engineered interaction with the environment can become a resource for the generation and protection of quantum states. This notion can be generalized to the confinement of a system into a manifold of quantum states, consisting of all coherent superpositions of multiple stable steady states. We have confined the state of a superconducting resonator to the quantum manifold spanned by two coherent states of opposite phases and have observed a Schrödinger cat state spontaneously squeeze out of vacuum before decaying into a classical mixture. This experiment points toward robustly encoding quantum information in multidimensional steady-state manifolds.

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