(Phys.org) In an international collaboration led by Philip Walther, scientist from the University of Vienna teamed up with the University of Cambridge and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology to implement a new counterfactual communication protocol. In standard photonic communication, the information is encoded in single photons; thus, the information and the single photons travel in the same direction. However, in counterfactual communication there is no carrier found travelling in the same direction as the message.
“In our implementation, there is no trace of the photon travelling in the same direction as the information and we are able to compensate the message errors without discarding information bits.” says I. Alonso Calafell, one of the authors from the publication.
By combining an integrated photonic platform built at MIT, together with a novel theoretical proposal developed at the University of Cambridge, scientist from the University of Vienna contradicted a crucial premise of communication theory: that a message is always carried by physical particles or waves.