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Into the Quantum Internet at the Speed of Light

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Writing information on a photo

An atoms quantum information is written onto the polarization state of a photon.

Credit: University of Innsbruck/Harald Ritsch

University of Innsbruck physicists have discovered a way to transfer quantum information stored in an atom onto a particle of light, and then send it to a distant atom via an optical fiber.

Although quantum computing has proven successful with atoms, a major barrier has been feasible interfaces to carry quantum information over optical channels from one computer to another.

Systems of single atoms confined in ion traps and controlled with lasers hold the most potential for building quantum computers, and laboratories have already experimented with critical components of quantum computing in this manner. However, creating an interface to link quantum computers requires the transfer of quantum information onto photons, which then must be transported over an optical-fiber link to a computer. This is possible, according to the University of Innsbruck research, which marks the first time quantum information has been directly transferred from an atom in an ion trap onto a single photon.

The photon could carry quantum information over the optical fiber to a distant quantum computer, and the method could be reversed to write the information back onto an atom.

From University of Innsbruck
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