Advances in Data Teleportation Bring 'Quantum Internet' Closer

by Wall Street Rebel - Michael London | 05/26/2022 2:47 PM
Advances in Data Teleportation Bring 'Quantum Internet' Closer

Delft University of Technology researchers teleported quantum data across a network. Improved quantum memory and quantum connectivity between the network's three nodes enabled this feat. This is the first step toward a future quantum internet.


The technology will execute tasks in minutes that even the most powerful supercomputers have not been able to finish in thousands of years. It will do this by harnessing the mysterious forces of quantum mechanics. Google presented an experimental quantum computer in the fall of 2019, demonstrating that such a thing was indeed conceivable. Two years later, a laboratory in China carried out much the same experiment.

Quantum computing, on the other hand, won't be able to live up to its full potential until another technical breakthrough is made. It's been dubbed the "quantum internet" since it's a computer network that can transmit quantum information between devices located in different locations.

A group of physicists working at the Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands has taken a significant step toward creating the future computer network. They did this by employing a method referred to as quantum teleportation to send data between three different physical locations. In the past, this might have been accomplished with simply two.

Based on the latest experiment results, it appears that researchers can extend a quantum network across an ever-growing number of locations. According to Ronald Hanson, the physicist at Delft who supervises the team, "We are now establishing modest quantum networks in the lab." However, the goal is to construct a quantum internet at some point in the future.

Their findings, which were presented this week in a report published in the scientific magazine Nature, illustrate the potency of a phenomenon that Albert Einstein previously believed to be impossible. Quantum teleportation, which he referred to as "spooky action at a distance," makes it possible to move information from one point to another without transferring the physical stuff that stores the information.

This technology can radically alter the transmission of data from one location to another. Quantum mechanics is a branch of physics that rules the subatomic realm and operates differently, unlike anything we encounter in our everyday lives. This theory is based on more than a century of research concerning quantum mechanics. Not only may data be transferred between quantum computers using quantum teleportation, but this process is carried out in a way that prevents any third party from eavesdropping on it.

"In today's world, things don't operate that way. Google is aware of the software that you are hosting on its servers. According to Tracy Eleanor Northup, a researcher at the University of Innsbruck's Institute for Experimental Physics who is also investigating quantum teleportation, "This means that the quantum computer can solve your problem and that it does not know what the problem is."

A quantum computer takes advantage of how certain particles behave when they are extremely small (like an electron or a particle of light) or extremely cold (like an exotic metal cooled to nearly absolute zero, or minus 460 degrees Fahrenheit). In the circumstances such as these, a single thing can exhibit the behavior of two distinct objects simultaneously.

Traditional computers carry out computations by processing "bits" of information, where each bit can store either a 1 or a 0, and each bit can be either one or the other. A quantum bit, also known as a qubit, can store a mixture of 1 and 0 by utilizing the peculiar behavior of quantum physics. This is analogous to how a spinning coin offers the enticing potential that it will land with either heads or tails when it ultimately comes to rest on the table.

This indicates that two qubits can simultaneously store four values, three can store eight values, four can store sixteen values, and so on. The power of a quantum computer increases exponentially in direct proportion to the size of its qubit count.

Researchers think that one day these gadgets will be able to speed up the process of developing new medications, fuel improvements in artificial intelligence, and defeat the encryption that safeguards systems that are essential to national security. Exploration of the technology is costing billions of dollars worldwide and is being funded by governments, academic labs, start-ups, and large technology companies.

In 2019, Google announced that its machine has achieved what scientists refer to as "quantum supremacy." This meant that it could complete an experimental challenge that was previously unattainable with conventional computers. However, the vast majority of industry professionals believe that it will be at least a few more years before a quantum computer can accomplish something valuable that can't be done with any other type of machine.

One of the difficulties stems from the fact that reading information from a qubit causes it to "decohere," which means it transforms into a conventional bit that can store either a 0 or a 1, but not both at the same time. However, suppose scientists successfully string together many qubits and invent methods to protect against decoherence. In that case, they should be able to construct machines that are not only powerful but also useful.

In the end, and ideally, these would be connected into networks that can send information between nodes, making it possible for them to be used from any location. This is analogous to how cloud computing services, such as those offered by companies like Google and Amazon, make processing power widely accessible today.

However, this presents its own set of challenges. Quantum information cannot simply be replicated and transmitted over a conventional network, in part because doing so would lead the information to lose its coherence. There is also the possibility of using quantum teleportation.

Even though it cannot move physical objects from one location to another, it can move information by taking advantage of a quantum property known as "entanglement." This property states that a change in the state of one quantum system instantly affects the state of another quantum system that is located far away.

Dr. Northup explained that once entanglement occurs, it is no longer possible to define these states separately. "In its most basic form, it is now a single system."

It's possible that electrons, light particles, or other kinds of particles could make up these entangled systems. In the Netherlands, Dr. Hanson and his team used something known as a nitrogen-vacancy center. This is a minuscule void that exists inside of a synthetic diamond and is capable of trapping electrons.

The group assembled three of these quantum devices and gave them the names Alice, Bob, and Charlie before stringing up strands of optical fiber to join them in a row. After that, the scientists could entangle these systems by passing individual photons, which are light particles, back and forth between them.

First, the scientists mixed up the properties of two electrons, one of which belonged to Alice and the other to Bob. This allowed all of the electrons to store the same information, a specific set of one and zero values. In practice, all of the electrons were given the same spin, and as a result, they were combined, or entangled in a single quantum state.

After that, the researchers could transfer this quantum state to another qubit, which was a carbon nucleus contained within Bob's synthetic diamond. After doing these steps, the electron belonging to Bob was no longer trapped, and the researchers were able to combine it with an electron that belonged to Charlie.

The researchers were then able to glue the two entanglements together by conducting a specific quantum operation on Bob's qubits, the electron, and the carbon nucleus. This allowed them to achieve the following result: Alice and Bob attached to Bob and Charlie.

The end consequence was that Alice and Charlie became entangled with one another, which made it possible for data to teleport across all three nodes.

Data can't be lost when transmitted in this manner since it does not have to transit the distance between the nodes physically. According to Dr. Hanson, "Information can be fed into one side of the connection, and then it can appear on the other side."

Additionally, there is no way to intercept the information stealthily. A future internet driven by quantum teleportation may be able to deliver a new type of encryption that is, in theory, impossible to crack.

In the latest experiment, the network nodes were spaced relatively close together, at about 60 feet apart on average. However, results from earlier experiments have demonstrated that quantum systems can be entangled at greater distances.

After a number of additional years of research, it is hoped that quantum teleportation will be practical at a distance of many miles. Dr. Hanson stated that they are currently attempting to carry out their research outside the laboratory.


                       From Alice to Charlie – the next step for the quantum internet




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