(SciTechDaily) The Foundational Questions Institute (FQXi) funded study found a novel connection between two weird quantum phenomena–superposition and entanglement that holds implications for ultra-secure cryptography. IQT-News summarizes below.
A team of physicists and mathematicians has found a new connection between the two weird properties of superposition and entanglement that does not assume that quantum theory is correct. Their research study was published in Physical Review Letters and has been selected as an Editors’ Suggestion by the journal.
“We were really excited to find this new connection that goes beyond quantum theory because the connection will be valid even for more exotic theories that are yet to be discovered,” says Ludovico Lami, a member of the physics think-tank, the Foundational Questions Institute, FQXi, and a physicist at the University of Ulm, in Germany. “This is also important because it is independent of the mathematical formalism of quantum theory and uses only notions with an immediate operational interpretation,” he adds. Lami co-authored the study with Guillaume Aubrun of Claude Bernard University Lyon 1, in France, Carlos Palazuelos, of the Complutense University of Madrid, in Spain, and Martin Plávala, of Siegen University, in Germany.
There are practical implications too. Quantum entanglement plays a key role in the design of quantum computers–machines that could outperform standard computers at certain tasks–and in quantum cryptographic protocols, which are already in use and exploit quantum rules to provide ultra-secure communication across channels that, in theory, are immune to hacking. But if quantum theory eventually needs to be replaced by another, more fundamental theory in the future, will we discover that these rules were not really valid or these cryptographic protocols are not secure as promised?
“It is somehow reassuring to know that cryptography is really a feature of all non-classical theories, and not just a quantum oddity, since many of us believe that the ultimate theory of nature will likely be non-classical,” says Lami. “Even if one day we found quantum theory to be incorrect we will still know that secret key distribution can in principle work.”
Sandra K. Helsel, Ph.D. has been researching and reporting on frontier technologies since 1990. She has her Ph.D. from the University of Arizona.