Superhighway for the Quantum Internet

An artist’s impression of the research team’s innovative system of detectors along quantum circuits to monitor light particles. (Source: A. Wang, ANU)

An inter­national team of researchers led by the Austra­lian National Univer­sity ANU is helping to build a safe data super­highway for the highly anti­cipated quantum internet, which promises a new era of arti­ficial intelligence and ultra-secure communi­cation. Andrey Sukhoru­kov said the data being shared on this future internet would be stored in light particles, which can store vast amounts of information.

“The light particles move really fast so, for quality-control purposes, we’ve developed a way to monitor and measure them along quantum circuits, which are like super­highways for the light particles to travel along,” said Sukhorukov, who led the research with a team of scientists at the Non­linear Physics Centre of the ANU Research School of Physics and Engi­neering. Kai Wang, a PhD scholar, said measuring light particles can interfere with the operation of the quantum circuit so the team needed to find a solution to this challenge.

The team designed an inno­vative system of detectors along the quantum circuits to monitor light particles without losing the infor­mation that they are storing, by pre­serving the quantum state being trans­mitted. “We guided light particles to two parallel paths, like two lanes on a highway: one lane has a faster speed limit than the other one, and light particles can freely change their lanes,” Wang said. “Along both lanes there are several detectors to simul­taneously check exactly how many light particles were passing these detectors at the same time.”

Through repeated detec­tions, the researchers gained a compre­hensive picture of these light particles as they entered and then subsequently left the detec­tion zones. “We lost just a tiny fraction of the light particles through this process, without affec­ting the quantum state of the trans­mitted light particles,” Wang said. “Our detection system can be built into a large, inte­grated network of quantum circuits, to help monitor light particles in real time.” The colla­borating research group led by Alexander Szameit at the Uni­versity of Rostock in Germany tested the feasi­bility of this new approach in experi­ments with custom-designed fabri­cated optical circuits. (Source: ANU)

Reference: K. Wang et al.: Inline detection and reconstruction of multiphoton quantum states, Optica 6, 41 (2019); DOI: 10.1364/optica.6.000041

Link: Nonlinear Physics Centre, Research School of Physics and Engineering, Australian National University ANU, Canberra, Australia

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