Google Research

Realizing topologically ordered states on a quantum processor

Science, vol. 374 (2021), pp. 1237-1241


The discovery of topological order has revolutionized the understanding of quantum matter in modern physics and provided the theoretical foundation for many quantum error correcting codes. Realizing topologically ordered states has proven to be extremely challenging in both condensed matter and synthetic quantum systems. Here, we prepare the ground state of the emblematic toric code Hamiltonian using an efficient quantum circuit on a superconducting quantum processor. We measure a topological entanglement entropy of Stopo ≈ −0.95 × ln 2 and simulate anyon interferometry to extract the braiding statistics of the emergent excitations. Furthermore, we investigate key aspects of the surface code, including logical state injection and the decay of the non-local order parameter. Our results illustrate the topological nature of these states and demonstrate their potential for implementing the surface code.

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