Quantum Memory Milestone Boosts Quantum Internet Future
Points to note…
+ A quantum internet could connect far-flung communication nodes through entanglement—a phenomenon that enables quantum-mechanically connected particles to experience related changes to their respective energy states regardless of the distance between them. But the time it takes for these systems to distribute their entanglement depends, naturally, on their efficiency at storing and retrieving entanglement.
Laurat and his team already have their sights set on tackling some of those next milestones. If all goes well, they envision a pan-European quantum network becoming possible within the next five to 10 years. “The next few years should see demonstrations over a few tens of kilometers,” Laurat says.
+ Boosting storage-and-retrieval efficiency from 25 percent to 90 percent makes a big difference in the speed and size of the quantum network such memory devices could support. For instance, Laurat and colleagues note, increasing efficiency from 60 percent to 90 percent would accelerate quantum memory speeds by two orders of magnitude over a distance of 600 km.
+ “In future large-scale quantum networks, multiple such entangled links will need to be generated at the same time in order to be able to later connect them into an end-to-end long-distance link,” says Filip Rozpedek, a postdoctoral associate researching quantum communication at the University of Chicago, who was not involved in the study. “Storage in quantum memories is needed in order to be able to maintain a given link while waiting for successful generation of the other ones.”
+ This “quantum repeater” protocol of connecting smaller segments into a larger quantum network would not be practical without reliable storage-and-retrieval efficiency. And, Rozpedek says, that efficiency “opens the possibility of experimentally investigating such practical quantum repeaters.”
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