A major breakthrough in the quantum Internet journey, a technology that would revolutionize computing in many ways, a consortium of respected institutions have announced the first demonstration of sustained high fidelity quantum teleportation over long distances.
A collaboration between Fermilab, AT&T, Caltech, Harvard University, NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory and the University of Calgary reports on the successful teleportation of qubits, basic units of quantum information, over 22 kilometers of fiber in two test benches: the Caltech Quantum Network and the Fermilab Quantum Network.
« The team has been working persistently and bowing their heads over the past few years, » said Maria Spiropulu, particle physicist at Caltech, who co-authored the new paper, in an email.
Although the collaboration knew it had « achieved significant results » by spring 2020, Spiropulu added, they refrained from informally spreading the news on social media until the full study was published this week.
« We wanted to broaden the framework for this type of research and take important steps along the way to realizing both real-world applications for quantum communication and networks, and to test fundamental physical ideas, » said Panagiotis Spentzouris, head of the quantum science program at Fermilab, in an email.
« When we finally did it, the team was delighted and very proud to have achieved these high quality and record breaking results, » he continued. “And we are very pleased that we can move on to the next phase with the know-how and technologies of this work for the provision of quantum networks. ”
The researchers stated that their experiment used off-the-shelf equipment that is compatible with both existing telecommunications infrastructure and new quantum technologies. The results « provide a realistic basis for a high-fidelity quantum Internet with practical devices, » according to a study published Tuesday in PRX Quantum Report.
Quantum teleportation does not involve the actual transfer of matter. Rather, quantum particles are involved (also dependent on one another over great distances) and somehow know the property of their other half. From our explainer earlier this year:
In a sense, entangled particles behave as if they know how the other particle is behaving. Quantum particles are always in a quantum state of probabilities in which properties such as position, momentum and spin of the particle can only be precisely determined after a certain measurement. For entangled particles, the quantum state of each depends on the quantum state of the other; For example, if one particle is measured and changes state, the state of the other particle changes accordingly.
The aim of the study was to teleport the state of quantum qubits or « quantum bits », which are the basic units of the quantum computer. According to the study, the researchers built a basically compact network with three nodes: Alice, Charlie and Bob. In this experiment, Alice sends a qubit to Charlie. Bob has an entangled pair of qubits and also sends a qubit to Charlie, where it interferes with Alice’s qubit. Charlie projects Alice’s qubit onto an entangled quantum bell state that translates the state of Alice’s original qubit onto Bob’s remaining qubit.
The breakthrough is notable for several reasons. Many previous demonstrations of quantum teleportation have proven to be unstable over long distances. For example, researchers at the University of Calgary were able to perform quantum teleportation at a distance of six kilometers in 2016. This was the world record at the time and was considered a great success.
The ultimate goal is to create quantum networks that use entanglement and superposition to significantly increase computing speed, performance and security compared to classic computers. For example the U. . S.. . The Department of Energy has an ambitious plan to build a quantum network between its National Laboratories.
Any computer-based field would be affected by the realization of this technology, although much of the focus of the future potential of quantum networks is on cryptography, search algorithms, financial services, and quantum simulations that could model complex phenomena.
Quantum computing has been on the horizon for years, and this study takes us one step closer to getting it done. However, don’t expect to be surfing the quantum internet anytime soon.
« People on social media are asking if they should sign up for a quantum ISP (joking, of course), » Spiropulu said. “We need (much) more R&D work. ”
After Fermilab, Caltech, and their partners demonstrate this important step toward these networks, the team plans to advance quantum information technology by building a metropolitan-scale network, the Illinois Express Quantum Network, around Chicago.
“There are many fronts that we have to push forward,” said Spentzouris, “both in the application of quantum communication and network technologies and in the further development of the system. We are already working intensively on the development of architectures, processes and protocols for quantum networks and on the optimization of some metrics, including communication rate and range. ”
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Quantum computers, computers, quantum mechanics, research
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