Photonics may drive quantum, says OIDA

quantum computing

Certain commercial studies are looking at new potential for quantum computing and relating it to available laser technology.


Specifically, the OSA Industry Development Associates (OIDA) has come out with some recommendations in a study called OIDA Quantum Photonics Roadmap: Every Photon Counts, produced in collaboration with Corning, advising that photonics and optics technologies could propel us further into the quantum computing age.


“While the field still needs breakthroughs in quantum science, such as a quantum repeater, the photonics technology already largely exists for laboratory experiments,” Tom Hausken, senior industry advisor, The Optical Society, said in a press statement. “The product engineering—low size, weight, power and cost—is missing, or it is applied to a specific customer application, without benefit to the rest of the field. The need is analogous to the talent shortage, not just with scientists, but with engineers in photonics, microwave and control electronics, packaging and cryogenics who have the specialized expertise to bring the technology to market.”


As for the specific application of these technologies, OIDA mentions non-GPS navigation and also talks about how new kinds of repeaters and network devices could facilitate data transfer in new revolutionary ways.


“GPS-free navigation and field-deployable quantum repeaters for communications will be significant milestones in an emerging market but more investments in product engineering are critical,” write Optical Society authors at “Lower SWAP-C devices would enable progress, for example, across multiple sensing categories, and integration of these systems onto photonic chips is a critical path to doing so. While some integration is possible today, more on-chip functionality … is needed.”


Quantum computing itself is so new that most enterprise users can’t get their heads around the concept of a qubit, a new base unit not built on binary identification.


However, if these analysts are right, the use of photonics and related technologies will steadily advance quantum technologies into our toolkits.


What the corresponding training and user literacy will look like remains to be seen. Investors with significant tech holdings should watch quantum as the next wave past the current AI/ML revolution – and watch out for lasers, too.