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New Techniques Improve Quantum Communication, Entangle Phonons

By IQT News posted 18 Jun 2020

(Phys.org) Scientists with the Pritzker School of Molecular Engineering (PME) at the University of Chicago have demonstrated a new quantum communication technique that links two communication nodes with a channel–a technique that an send information quantum-mechanically between the nodes—without ever occupying the linking channel. Professor Cleland, the John A. MacLean Sr. Professor of Molecular Engineering at Pritzker Molecular Engineering and a senior scientist at Argonne National Laboratory. “We’re excited about what these results might mean for the future of quantum communication and solid-state quantum systems.”
Sending quantum information via photons over traditional channels, such as fiber-optic lines, is difficult: the photons carrying the information are often corrupted or lost, making the signals weak or incoherent. Oftentimes a message must be sent several times to ensure that it went through.
Cleland wanted to find a method to send quantum information without losing it in the transmission. He and his team, including PME graduate student Hung-Shen Chang, developed a system that entangled two communication nodes using microwave photons—the same photons used in your cell phone—through a microwave cable. For this experiment, they used a microwave cable about a meter in length. By turning the system on and off in a controlled manner, they were able to quantum-entangle the two nodes and send information between them—without ever having to send photons through the cable.

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