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JQI Profile: Ari Dyckovsky, high school researcher

Entangling protocol worked on by high school researcher at JQI, who subsequently was a finalist in the Intel Science Talent Search. The photons are emitted from two qubits. The qubits themselves may be different or the photons may become altered by elements in the scheme (such as the filters).

Image courtesy of authors

Ari Misha Dyckovsky, a soon-to-be graduate of Heritage High School and the Loudoun Academy of Science, was recently announced as one of three winners in the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair. He was awarded $50,000 for his work. NRC postdoctoral fellow Steve Olmschenk has been mentoring Ari on this project.

Ari, who will attend Stanford University in the fall, developed his passion for science and math at an early age. While traveling as a child, his father would play math games with him. Later, Ari made the connection that this fun tool, mathematics, also could be used to describe the physical world. Around the time that Ari was 15, the NOVA Absolute Zero special sparked his interest in the quantum realm. Shortly thereafter, Ari contacted Olmschenk, who had just finished his doctoral work on quantum information in the group of Chris Monroe.

Distant matter qubits were central to Olmschenk’s thesis, where he worked on quantum information protocols and entangling two identical ions separated by one meter using two-photon interference. Here, two matter qubits act as quantum memories. In Dyckovsky’s project, he and Olmschenk develop a theoretical description of entangling non-identical qubits.

The entangling protocol works as follows (see Figure 1). Each matter qubit can be entangled with a photon emitted due to laser excitation. The photons are independently emitted and travel to what’s called a beam splitter, where they can interfere. The photons are subsequently detected. This process of interference and detection can cause the two matter qubits to become entangled.

However, the photons, and thus the qubits, may be non-identical for a myriad of reasons. For instance, in hybrid systems the qubits themselves differ (i.e. one qubit is an ion and the other is a quantum dot). The theory also covers the more subtle case, where differences in the elements used in the entangling protocol suffer from manufacturing variations even when the qubits themselves are identical. For instance, the photons pass through filters that may have varying specifications. It is this very practical aspect of developing quantum information devices that Ari explored in his research project.

Ari’s project has received many accolades at different science competitions. This past March he was a 2012 finalist in the Intel Science Talent Search. This research project also led to a peer-reviewed publication for Dyckovsky (see reference publication below).

Ari’s success has sparked news coverage in many different outlets.