Realization of quantum walks with negligible decoherence in waveguide lattices

Phys Rev Lett. 2008 May 2;100(17):170506. doi: 10.1103/PhysRevLett.100.170506. Epub 2008 May 2.


Quantum random walks are the quantum counterpart of classical random walks, and were recently studied in the context of quantum computation. Physical implementations of quantum walks have only been made in very small scale systems severely limited by decoherence. Here we show that the propagation of photons in waveguide lattices, which have been studied extensively in recent years, are essentially an implementation of quantum walks. Since waveguide lattices are easily constructed at large scales and display negligible decoherence, they can serve as an ideal and versatile experimental playground for the study of quantum walks and quantum algorithms. We experimentally observe quantum walks in large systems ( approximately 100 sites) and confirm quantum walks effects which were studied theoretically, including ballistic propagation, disorder, and boundary related effects.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't