IonQ, a leading quantum computing company, announced on 22 February that it has generated photons entangled with ions repeatedly and reproducibly, creating a quantum state which allows future quantum systems to communicate and transfer information between each other.

Such an achievement marks the first known commercial demonstration of ion-photon entanglement outside of academic environment.

IonQ’s R&D team demonstrated the generation and collection of single photons from an ion qubit, successfully routing those photons to specialized detection optics used to verify ion-photon entanglement across this network.

Currently, classical supercomputers distribute workloads across multiple cores and processors to operate in parallel. In contrast, quantum networks entangle cores to form a single, more powerful quantum computer capable of running complex algorithms. Photonic interconnections will lead to integrated computation in quantum networks, not just communication between isolated parts as in classical setups.

This work represents a crucial first step towards developing photonic interconnect protocols for quantum computing applications running across multiple quantum processing units (QPUs) and will be an integral part of helping  IonQ deliver significantly higher computational power in next-generation systems.

In fact, as Pat Tang, the company’s Vice President of Research and Development, specifies: “This result brings us one step closer to achieving commercial quantum advantage by running deeper, more complex circuits, and lays the foundation to develop future quantum applications and quantum networking solutions.”

There is a wealth of knowledge in academia on the strength of trapped ions for this photonic interconnect technology. IonQ draws on the academic research and experience of the specialists employed at IonQ in order to efficiently transfer commercial technology from academia to an IonQ trapped ion system. Incorporating a photonic interconnect resource to realise a fully capable quantum computer is a cutting-edge frontier in quantum computing.

Last year, IonQ acquired Canada-based start-up Entangled Networks to expand IonQ’s expertise in performing calculations on multiple distributed quantum processors. In addition, the company expanded its relationship with the Air Force Research Lab (AFRL) with a $25.5m deal to implement two quantum computing systems for research and development of quantum networks.

For detailed information on the announcement: