Research ArticleQUANTUM OPTICS

Universal linear optics

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Science  09 Jul 2015:
DOI: 10.1126/science.aab3642

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Linear optics underpins fundamental tests of quantum mechanics and quantum technologies. We demonstrate a single reprogrammable optical circuit that is sufficient to implement all possible linear optical protocols up to the size of that circuit. Our six-mode universal system consists of a cascade of 15 Mach-Zehnder interferometers with 30 thermo-optic phase shifters integrated into a single photonic chip that is electrically and optically interfaced for arbitrary setting of all phase shifters, input of up to six photons and their measurement with a 12 single-photon detector system. We programmed this system to implement heralded quantum logic and entangling gates, boson sampling with verification tests, and six-dimensional complex Hadamards. We implemented 100 Haar random unitaries with average fidelity 0.999 ± 0.001. Our system can be rapidly reprogrammed to implement these and any other linear optical protocol, pointing the way to applications across fundamental science and quantum technologies.

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