(Sydney.edu.au) A team of quantum engineers has shown that atoms held in optical cavities – tiny boxes to hold light – could be foundational to the creation of a quantum internet.
Engineers at Caltech, the California Institute of Technology, have discovered that by embedding atoms of the rare-earth element ytterbium in an optical cavity they are able to control and measure a stable form of quantum information in a solid. The system they have developed has the potential to share that information over thousands of kilometres using photons. Caltech’s Professor Andrei Faraon, who led the research team said, “It’s a rare-earth ion that absorbs and emits photons in exactly the way we’d need to create a quantum network.
The team’s current focus is on creating the building blocks of a quantum network. Next, they hope to scale up their experiments and connect two quantum bits, Professor Faraon said.
Dr John Bartholomew is a co-author of the Nature paper describing the effort and worked on the project at Caltech. This year he joined the University of Sydney Nano Institute and School of Physics.

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