Scientists at Northwestern University can track quantum bits or intertwined light particles at high speeds over a shared fiber-optic cable network without letting the data in the quantum bits to be lost.
The switch could provide a quantum Internet in which encrypted data will be safe. The solution could also be used in networking quantum computers.
The switching device will help transport fiber-optic communication to multiple users of quantum data. This will help track a quantum dot, such as a photon, to its target like an e-mail travels over the Internet. The research paper has been published in the journal Physical Review Letters.
Prem Kumar, AT&T professor of Information Technology in the McCormick School of Engineering and Applied Science and Director of the Center for Photonic Communication and Computing and Computing, has written the paper. According to him, the team mainly focuses on fiber optics because quantum communication can be incorporated into current telecommunication systems.
The bits used in communications prevail either as a ‘1’ or ‘0’. A quantum bit or qubit can be both one and zero at the same time apart from being just one or zero. Qubits at various sites can be entangled. A network of photonic quantum will need switches that do not disrupt its physical characteristics. The team developed a fiber-optic switch that meets this requirement.
The scientists utilized pairs of polarization-entangled photons emitted into conventional fiber. One pair of photon was passed via the switch. The team then used single-photon detectors and identified that the quantum state of photons pair was not affected and the encoded entanglement data remained intact.
Kumar stated that the device will have multiple applications such as distributed quantum processing, in which nodes of tiny quantum processors are linked through quantum links.