(SCMP) A team of researchers in China has “entangled” two clouds of atoms via a 50km (31-mile) optical fibre – a breakthrough that could help make quantum internet technology a reality. Researchers say the development could bring a “quantum internet” closer to reality.
A “quantum internet”, founded on this mysterious entangling ability, could fundamentally change information technology and society as a whole.
SCMP wrote that China is generally regarded as a world leader on quantum communication technology – it developed the first quantum satellite and has the longest quantum key distribution network in operation.
The idea of building a quantum internet with entangled atoms as repeaters – which relay the quantum message from one stop to the next – is not new, but until now the longest distance the photons had travelled was just over 1km. Optical fibre, the backbone of modern telecommunications, is not a friendly medium for entangled light particles. According to some estimates, if 100 quadrillion entangled photons travelled through optical fibre, only one of them would survive after 50km.
Information on a future quantum internet would be carried by entangled photons. For now though, this type of quantum communication technology is severely limited by bandwidth.