Scientists have taken a major step towards the creation of a quantum internet.
The technology would allow information to be “transported” in an instant. It would help bring about a promised quantum computing revolution as well as bringing radical change in how networks function.
But, to get there, scientists must first figure out the basic technology so that it can be used in more complex networks.
Now scientists say they have done some of that fundamental work, in a new study that reports a success in teleporting quantum information between two nodes of a network that are not connected to each other.
In the study, scientists created a three-node quantum network, giving each of those nodes a name: Alice, Bob and Charlie. In the network, Alice was connected to Bob, and Bob was connected to Charlie – but Charlie was not connected to Bob.
Scientists say they have successfully shared information between Alice and Bob, despite the fact they are not connected.
So far, researchers have only been able to demonstrate connections between neighbouring nodes, and the new study represents the first success of this kind.
Now scientists hope it represents a first step towards building a larger quantum network built on the sharing of quantum information.
That future is still “some way off”, researchers away from the new study say. But the paper offers a “potential path forward” to building real world applications of the technology.
“This achievement is not only a win for fundamental science, but also represents an advance in the real-world problem solving required to move this fascinating quantum application to the next step,” write Oliver Slattery and Yong-Su Kim in an accompanying article.
Actually building such systems will require more robust systems, as well as new interfaces that should improve the efficiency of the system.
That will be crucial to bring the breakthroughs in the work to more complex quantum systems, the authors say.
The success is reported in a new study, ‘Qubit teleportation between non-neighbouring nodes in a quantum network’, published in Nature.
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