(NSF.gov) NSF-funded researchers are working to create the building blocks of a quantum network.
Engineers at Caltech have shown that atoms in optical cavities — tiny boxes for light — could lead to the creation of a quantum internet. Their National Science Foundation-funded work was published in the journal Nature.
Quantum networks would connect quantum computers through a system that operates at a quantum, rather than classical, level. In theory, quantum computers will one day be able to perform certain functions faster than classical computers by taking advantage of the special properties of quantum mechanics.
As they can with classical computers, engineers would like to be able to connect multiple quantum computers to share data and work together in a quantum computer network.
“While important in their own right, quantum computer networks also represent an important step toward realizing the goal of a secure quantum internet,” explained Fil Bartoli, director of NSF’s Division of Electrical, Communications and Cyber Systems. Networks would open the door to several applications, including solving computations that are too large to be handled by a single quantum computer and establishing unbreakably secure communications using quantum cryptography.