How can you tell if a quantum memory is really quantum? | 5/23/2018 | Staff
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Quantum memories are devices that can store quantum information for a later time, which are usually implemented by storing and re-emitting photons with certain quantum states. But often it's difficult to tell whether a memory is storing quantum or merely classical information. In a new paper, physicists have developed a new test to verify the quantum nature of quantum memories.

The researchers, Denis Rosset, Francesco Buscemi, and Yeong-Cherng Liang, have published a paper on the quantum memory test in a recent issue of Physical Review X.

Quantum - Memories - Components - Long-distance - Quantum

"Quantum memories are indispensable components of long-distance quantum communication networks and potentially even in a full-scale quantum computer," Liang, a physicist at National Cheng Kung University in Taiwan, told "For these components to serve their purpose, it's essential that they can preserve, at least, the quantum entanglement between certain inputs to the memory and whatever other parts that did not enter the memory. Our work strikes the right balance in certifying any device that possesses this ability while making the minimal assumptions."

As the scientists explain, the quantum entanglement between the system stored in the memory and any remote systems not in the memory must be maintained for the entire storage time. If this entanglement is broken at any time, then the device no longer functions as a quantum memory but rather as an "entanglement-breaking channel" and as a result can transmit only classical information.

Tests - Nature - Memory - Tests - Limitations

Although currently there are tests that can verify the quantum nature of a quantum memory, these tests have certain limitations. For one, they require the experimenter to trust that the measurement and state preparation devices used by the quantum memory are accurate. For this reason, these tests are called device-dependent protocols. However, a test that makes no assumptions cannot be "faithful," meaning it may overlook some genuine quantum memories. This is because...
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