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IQT’s “Journal Club:” A Dive into Syncing Quantum Clocks with Quantum Entanglement

A new paper in Communications of the ACM assesses the current investment level and market readiness of the quantum computing landscape.
By Kenna Hughes-Castleberry posted 22 Dec 2023

IQT’s “Journal Club” is a weekly article series that breaks down a recent quantum technology research paper and discusses its impacts on the quantum ecosystem. This week’s article discusses a new paper by researchers at the  National University of Defense Technology in China on synchronizing quantum clocks using quantum entanglement. 

In a world where technology is advancing at an unprecedented pace, a recent advancement in quantum technology promises to redefine the realms of communication, computing, and sensing. A new paper published in EPJ Quantum Technology has introduced a novel concept in quantum networks, particularly focusing on quantum clock synchronization (QCS). This might sound complex, but its implications are far-reaching and incredibly beneficial for the technology industry.

Looking at Quantum Networks

To appreciate this innovation, it’s crucial to understand the basics of quantum networks. Unlike traditional networks, quantum networks operate on the principles of quantum mechanics, which deal with the behavior of particles at the atomic and subatomic levels. These networks offer enhanced security and efficiency, particularly in transmitting information.

A New Method for Synchronizing Quantum Clocks

The paper presents a new method called the multi-user round-trip QCS scheme. In simpler terms, this involves synchronizing clocks across a network with extreme precision using the principles of quantum mechanics. Imagine a central server sending specially prepared photons, the smallest light particles, to various users. These photons are ‘entangled’ – a quantum state where the particles remain connected even when separated by large distances. This entanglement is key to synchronizing clocks with unparalleled accuracy.

The proper synchronization of clocks is important for a wide variety of industries and sectors. The timing is everything in many modern technologies, from GPS systems to high-speed data networks. Even a slight misalignment in time can lead to errors and inefficiencies. This new quantum method ensures that all devices on a network can have perfectly synchronized clocks, which is crucial for maintaining the integrity and efficiency of these systems.

Traditional clock synchronization methods face limitations in precision and are vulnerable to various security threats. The quantum approach not only offers greater precision but also comes with enhanced security inherent in quantum technologies. This means that the synchronized network is more accurate and more secure from potential cyber threats.

Developing a multi-user round-trip QCS scheme in quantum networks marks a significant step forward in quantum technology. It’s not just about having accurate clocks; it’s about enabling a new level of precision and security in technologies that form the backbone of our digital world. As we venture further into the quantum age, innovations like these open doors to possibilities that were once considered science fiction. This breakthrough is a testament to the untapped potential of quantum technology, poised to revolutionize our world in ways we are just beginning to understand.

Kenna Hughes-Castleberry is the Managing Editor at Inside Quantum Technology and the Science Communicator at JILA (a partnership between the University of Colorado Boulder and NIST). Her writing beats include deep tech, quantum computing, and AI. Her work has been featured in Scientific American, Discover Magazine, New Scientist, Ars Technica, and more.

Categories: photonics

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Wojciech Kozlowski, Quantum Network Engineer at QuTech, will speak at IQT the Hague in 2024 in the Netherlands.Quantum News Briefs looks at news in the quantum industry.