Tue Jan 05 2021
Fermi Lab breakthrough could redefine global communications
Sustained, long distance quantum teleportation with a fidelity (data accuracy) of over 90% was achieved recently by a team of scientists from the Fermi National Accelerator Labs, alongside five other leading super computing institutions, NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), Caltech, AT&T, Harvard University and the University of Calgary in Canada.
The team have claimed they were able to teleport qubits made of photons over a distance of 44km’s (27 miles). They moved them through a fibre optic network that used state-of-the-art low-noise superconducting nanowire single-photon detectors and off-the-shelf optical equipment.
Achieving this means they’re the first team of scientists to successfully demonstrate the teleportation of photons with such a high degree of accuracy over so long a distance. The teleportation was successfully achieved on two systems, the Fermilab Quantum Network and the Caltech Quantum Network.
These systems were built and deployed by Caltech’s public/private research programme on Intelligent Quantum Networks and Technologies (IN-Q-NET).
With this demonstration we're beginning to lay the foundation for the construction of a Chicago-area metropolitan quantum network. We are very proud to have achieved this milestone on sustainable, high-performing and scalable quantum teleportation systems. The results will be further improved with system upgrades we are expecting to complete by the second quarter of 2021.
So may researchers are currently pursuing quantum communication systems as, being based on the quantum properties of photons, rather than computer code that can be cracked by hackers, they’d be significantly more secure by several orders of magnitude.
However, that complexity currently makes them incredibly expensive to manufacture and maintain. This is because they rely on something called the quantum entanglement phenomenon, which occurs when subatomic particles (such as protons) become linked and start to influence each another regardless of the distance between them.
If two particles can be deliberately entangled, then the state of one particle can be known by measuring the state of the other.
That information can then be used to create encrypted comms channels that would be secured against hacking by the very laws of quantum physics.
Quantum information is incredibly delicate, making it difficult to beam entangled photons over the long distances that would be needed without experiencing high degrees of interference (corrupting the data).
Tue Jan 05 2021