Collaboration between quantum scientists and City of Calgary sets a distance record for teleporting a photon state over a fibre network
What if you could behave like the crew on the Starship Enterprise and teleport yourself home or anywhere else in the world? As a human, you’re probably not going to realize this any time soon; if you’re a photon, you might want to keep reading.
Through a collaboration between the University of Calgary, The City of Calgary and researchers in the United States, a group of physicists led by Wolfgang Tittel, professor in the Department of Physics and Astronomy at the University of Calgary have successfully demonstrated teleportation of a photon (an elementary particle of light) over a straight-line distance of six kilometres using The City of Calgary’s fibre optic cable infrastructure. The project began with an Urban Alliance seed grant in 2014.
This accomplishment, which set a new record for distance of transferring a quantum state by teleportation, has landed the researchers a spot in the prestigious Nature Photonics scientific journal. The finding was published back-to-back with a similar demonstration by a group of Chinese researchers. Read the article, “Quantum Teleportation Across a Metropolitan Fiber Network.”
“Such a network will enable secure communication without having to worry about eavesdropping, and allow distant quantum computers to connect,” says Tittel.
Experiment draws on ‘spooky action at a distance’
The experiment is based on the entanglement property of quantum mechanics, also known as “spooky action at a distance” — a property so mysterious that not even Einstein could come to terms with it.
“Being entangled means that the two photons that form an entangled pair have properties that are linked regardless of how far the two are separated,” explains Tittel. “When one of the photons was sent over to City Hall, it remained entangled with the photon that stayed at the University of Calgary.”
Next, the photon whose state was teleported to the university was generated in a third location in Calgary and then also travelled to City Hall where it met the photon that was part of the entangled pair.
“What happened is the disembodied transfer of the photon’s quantum state onto the remaining photon of the entangled pair, which is the one that remained six kilometres away at the university,” says Tittel.
City’s accessible dark fibre makes research possible
The research could not be possible without access to the proper technology. One of the critical pieces of infrastructure that support quantum networking is accessible dark fibre. Dark fibre, so named because of its composition — a single optical cable with no electronics or network equipment on the alignment — doesn’t interfere with quantum technology.
The City of Calgary is building and provisioning dark fibre to enable next-generation municipal services today and for the future.
“By opening The City’s dark fibre infrastructure to the private and public sector, non-profit companies, and academia, we help enable the development of projects like quantum encryption and create opportunities for further research, innovation and economic growth in Calgary,” said Tyler Andruschak, project manager with Innovation and Collaboration at The City of Calgary.
“The university receives secure access to a small portion of our fibre optic infrastructure and The City may benefit in the future by leveraging the secure encryption keys generated out of the lab’s research to protect our critical infrastructure,” said Andruschak. In order to deliver next-generation services to Calgarians, The City has been increasing its fibre optic footprint, connecting all City buildings, facilities and assets.
Timed to within one millionth of one millionth of a second
As if teleporting a photon wasn’t challenging enough, Tittel and his team encountered a number of other roadblocks along the way.
Due to changes in the outdoor temperature, the transmission time of photons from their creation point to City Hall varied over the course of a day — the time it took the researchers to gather sufficient data to support their claim. This change meant that the two photons would not meet at City Hall.
“The challenge was to keep the photons’ arrival time synchronized to within 10 pico-seconds,” says Tittel. “That is one trillionth, or one millionth of one millionth of a second.”
Secondly, parts of their lab had to be moved to two locations in the city, which as Tittel explains was particularly tricky for the measurement station at City Hall which included state-of-the-art superconducting single-photon detectors developed by the National Institute for Standards and Technology, and NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory.
“Since these detectors only work at temperatures less than one degree above absolute zero the equipment also included a compact cryostat,” said Tittel.
Milestone towards a global quantum Internet
This demonstration is arguably one of the most striking manifestations of a puzzling prediction of quantum mechanics, but it also opens the path to building a future quantum internet, the long-term goal of the Tittel group.
The Latest on: Quantum internet
via Google News
The Latest on: Quantum internet
- NTT offers researchers $1 million salaries in bid to lure top talent in cryptography, quantum computingon November 20, 2019 at 1:46 am
Cryptography, the science of encoding and decoding data to maintain privacy, is fundamental to the internet’s security and plays a role in blockchain and cryptocurrencies, two red-hot areas of ...
- Lightning fast quantum computers mean that we are in a new race to strengthen cybersecurity defenceson November 19, 2019 at 8:11 pm
In contrast, ensuring that all of our encryption algorithms are quantum resistant will take many more years of development, and a lot more money. China’s 5G, industrial internet roll-outs to fuel more ...
- Quantum Computing: Challenges, Trends and the Road Aheadon November 19, 2019 at 10:15 am
Quantum computers will allow us to better understand how the universe works ... or covertly monitoring remote systems without the need for an internet connection. “This may all sound well and good, ...
- Physicists irreversibly split photons by freezing them in Bose-Einstein condensateon November 14, 2019 at 1:45 pm
"Perhaps quantum computers might one day use this method to communicate with each other and form a kind of quantum Internet," says Weitz with a view towards the future. University of Bonn. (2019, ...
- Physicists irreversibly split photons by freezing them in a Bose-Einstein condensateon November 14, 2019 at 11:02 am
"Perhaps quantum computers might one day use this method to communicate with each other and form a kind of quantum Internet," says Weitz with a view towards the future.
- New quantum data protocol takes big steps towards a 'Quantum Internet'on November 11, 2019 at 12:14 am
Everyday efforts are being made towards the creation of 'quantum internet,' and now a new network protocol has been developed that bring us even closer to its fruition. UAB researchers have managed to ...
- A Glimpse Into Honeywell’s Quantum Play Through Microsoft’s Azure Ignite Announcementon November 9, 2019 at 4:04 pm
Azure Quantum will provide internet cloud access to Honeywell’s quantum computer along with those of IonQ and QCI. The service also includes access to Microsoft's open-source Quantum Development Kit ...
- A new quantum data classification protocol brings us nearer to a future 'quantum internet'on November 8, 2019 at 9:24 am
thus setting the bases for a future "quantum internet." With the design of these quantum information networks come new theoretical challenges, given that it is necessary to establish optimised ...
- What happens at a quantum internet hackathon?on November 8, 2019 at 2:22 am
After researchers in Dublin joined forces with teams in five other cities for a pan-European Quantum Internet Hackathon, Dr Harun Šiljak describes the experience. You’re going to hear a lot more about ...
via Bing News