A quantum internet would be much faster and safer than you use these two true – and now such a network might be one step closer to reality. Scientists have used quantum teleportation to send information remotely, with higher precision than ever before.
Quantum entanglement is a strange phenomenon that sounds like science fiction to our minds focusing on classical physics. Basically, two or more particles can become so intertwined that changing one state instantly changes its partner – no matter how far away it is.
This mechanism – which Einstein himself called “spooky” – can be harnessed to create quantum networks. Photon pairs can be snared and separated, allowing data to be “teleported” between them over long distances. As a bonus, this network can be more secure, because any hacker will mess up the data just by trying to read it.
Now, researchers at Fermilab, AT&T, Caltech, Harvard, NASA JPL and the University of Calgary have demonstrated highly accurate and continuous quantum teleportation over long distances. The team sent information over 44 km (27 miles) with more than 90 percent accuracy – a record accuracy for this distance.
To do so, the team added a third “node” in the middle, between the sender and the recipient. To get information from A to B, both parties first send a photon to C. Recipient, B, sends one of the entangled members of the spouse and saves the other. When photons A and B meet in C, they are then entangled, so that information from photons A is transferred to both photons B – the photons they send and which they store – thanks to quantum attachment links. As a result, it is basically the same as moving information from A to B.
This is not the furthest-distance quantum teleportation ever achieved. In 2015 information was teleported through fiber optics more than 100 km (62 miles), and in 2017 Chinese scientists broke records by effectively teleporting data of more than 1,200 km (746 miles) using satellites as midpoints.
But the new experiment marks a breakthrough in long-distance loyalty. A record 100 km, for example, produces an accuracy of about 80 percent, so 90 percent is an impressive improvement. The team also said that experimental arrangements largely involve off-the-shelf components, meaning future quantum internet should be able to be built using existing infrastructure.