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Pritzer School of Molecular Engineering’s Zhong Receives NSF Grant for Research on Quantum Internet

By IQT News posted 04 Feb 2020

(PME.Chicago.edu) Assistant Prof. Tian Zhong of the Pritzker School of Molecular Engineering (PME) was recently awarded a National Science Foundation (NSF) grant for his research proposal on creating a quantum internet, which could give internet users the power of quantum computing by distributing entanglement and exchanging quantum information over a global scale.
The research project, “Long-distance quantum network of long-lived rare-earth qubits,” earned Zhong the Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) Award from NSF. The award carries a value of $500,000 over a five-year period.
Quantum internet consists of stationary nodes where entanglement is generated and stored, and the nodes are connected via photons as quantum links. Today, distribution of quantum-secured cryptographic keys over a network link has been realized, but only at distances no greater than ~100 km due to the intrinsic loss of optical fibers.
Zhong’s project proposes to overcome this limit by developing quantum repeater nodes, where quantum information—in the form of a qubit—is sent as photons between nearby nodes. Qubits are then stored in the internal states of atoms as quantum memories at each node for further processing or user access.

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