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Trace-free counterfactual communication with a nanophotonic processor

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Strömberg, T 
Arvidsson-Shukur, DRM 
Rozema, LA 
Saggio, V 


jats:titleAbstract</jats:title>jats:pIn standard communication information is carried by particles or waves. Counterintuitively, in counterfactual communication particles and information can travel in opposite directions. The quantum Zeno effect allows Bob to transmit a message to Alice by encoding information in particles he never interacts with. A first remarkable protocol for counterfactual communication relied on thousands of ideal optical operations for high success rate performance. Experimental realizations of that protocol have thus employed post-selection to demonstrate counterfactuality. This post-selection, together with arguments concerning a so-called “weak trace” of the particles traveling from Bob to Alice, have led to a discussion regarding the counterfactual nature of the protocol. Here we circumvent these controversies, implementing a new, and fundamentally different, protocol in a programmable nanophotonic processor, based on reconfigurable silicon-on-insulator waveguides that operate at telecom wavelengths. This, together with our telecom single-photon source and highly efficient superconducting nanowire single-photon detectors, provides a versatile and stable platform for a high-fidelity implementation of counterfactual communication with single photons, allowing us to actively tune the number of steps in the Zeno measurement, and achieve a bit error probability below 1%, without post-selection and with a vanishing weak trace. Our demonstration shows how our programmable nanophotonic processor could be applied to more complex counterfactual tasks and quantum information protocols.</jats:p>



5108 Quantum Physics, 51 Physical Sciences

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npj Quantum Information

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Springer Science and Business Media LLC
EPSRC (EP/N509620/1)