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A Network of Crystals For Long-Distance Quantum Communication

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The quantum repeater: two crystals in operation.

Researchers from the University of Geneva, Switzerland, have demonstrated a novel quantum communications protocol based on a crystal than can emit quantum light as well as store it for arbitrary long times.

Credit: University of Geneva

Researchers at the University of Geneva (UNIGE) in Switzerland have developed and demonstrated a protocol for long-distance quantum communication using a network of crystals that emit quantum light and store it for arbitrary intervals.

UNIGE's Cyril Laplane says the protocol's reliance on single photons entails a significant possibility of particle loss when the photons propagate in conventional communication links, which grows more crucial with distance.

For the quantum repeater, "we are using a crystal capable of storing the quantum state of light," says UNIGE's Jean Etesse. "It possesses the advantage of being relatively simple to use with the potential for very long storage times."

Etesse says the crystals can absorb light and restore it later, without reading encoded information. In addition, they can produce single photons and store them on demand.

The crystal is the source and memory for quantum information, streamlining the protocol for quantum repeaters and establishing the basis for a quantum Internet.

From University of Geneva
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