Fault-tolerant quantum error detection

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Science Advances  20 Oct 2017:
Vol. 3, no. 10, e1701074
DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.1701074


Quantum computers will eventually reach a size at which quantum error correction becomes imperative. Quantum information can be protected from qubit imperfections and flawed control operations by encoding a single logical qubit in multiple physical qubits. This redundancy allows the extraction of error syndromes and the subsequent detection or correction of errors without destroying the logical state itself through direct measurement. We show the encoding and syndrome measurement of a fault-tolerantly prepared logical qubit via an error detection protocol on four physical qubits, represented by trapped atomic ions. This demonstrates the robustness of a logical qubit to imperfections in the very operations used to encode it. The advantage persists in the face of large added error rates and experimental calibration errors.

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