Development Towards Long-Distance Quantum Communication

Development Towards Long-Distance Quantum Communication

Researchers develop a prototype of key element for photonic quantum repeaters, a significant step in development of long-distance quantum communication.

Engineers at University of Toronto Engineering develop optical quantum repeaters which offer advantage over the conventional internet network. Quantum internet is based on securing information and communication dealing with challenges such as hacking and computer espionage. Hackers in no small measure are creating loop holes in the information security of the government, corporations and individuals.

Therefore, the developers have drafted ways which will provide virtually unbreakable encryption system. The quantum key distribution is one such initiative towards marring the hacker’s intentions. The technique focuses on tracking the hacker who leaves detectable trace and aborting the communication before one loses any significant information. However, these techniques are applicable only over short distances, hence, the team of researchers at Toronto sought to overcome this challenge using optical-fiber communication. Since the signals lose their potency during their travel in the fiber optical cables, repeaters are inserted in cables that help in boosting and amplifying the signals that transmit information.

Despite of its success, the repeaters face challenges such as huge storage sites, difficulty in building, expensive as they operate under cryogenic temperatures and prone to errors. However, the novel quantum internet provides quantum teleportation and security which was not possible to implement in the conventional internet.  Hoi- Kwong Lo Professor at the University of Toronto said, “An all-optical network is a promising form of infrastructure for fast and energy-efficient communication that is required for a future quantum internet,” says Lo. “Our work helps pave the way toward this future.” The research was published in the journal Nature’s communication on January 28, 2019.