Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Into the quantum Internet at the speed of light

Date:
February 4, 2013
Source:
University of Innsbruck
Summary:
Not only do optical fibers transmit information every day around the world at the speed of light, but they can also be harnessed for the transport of quantum information. Physicists now report how they have directly transferred the quantum information stored in an atom onto a particle of light. Such information could then be sent over optical fiber to a distant atom.

The atom’s quantum information is written onto the polarization state of the photon.
Credit: Graphics: Harald Ritsch

Not only do optical fibers transmit information every day around the world at the speed of light, but they can also be harnessed for the transport of quantum information. In the current issue of Nature Photonics, a research team of Innsbruck physicists led by Rainer Blatt and Tracy Northup report how they have directly transferred the quantum information stored in an atom onto a particle of light. Such information could then be sent over optical fiber to a distant atom.

Thanks to the strange laws of quantum mechanics, quantum computers would be able to carry out certain computational tasks much faster than conventional computers. Among the most promising technologies for the construction of a quantum computer are systems of single atoms, confined in so-called ion traps and manipulated with lasers. In the laboratory, these systems have already been used to test key building blocks of a future quantum computer. "Currently, we can carry out successful quantum computations with atoms," explain Andreas Stute and Bernardo Casabone, both PhD students at the University of Innsbruck's Institute for Experimental Physics. "But we are still missing viable interfaces with which quantum information can be transferred over optical channels from one computer to another."

What makes the construction of these interfaces especially challenging is that the laws of quantum mechanics don't allow quantum information to be simply copied. Instead, a future quantum internet -- that is, a network of quantum computers linked by optical channels -- would have to transfer quantum information onto individual particles of light, known as photons. These photons would then be transported over an optical-fiber link to a distant computing site. Now, for the first time, quantum information has been directly transferred from an atom in an ion trap onto a single photon. The work is reported in the current issue of Nature Photonics by a research team led by Tracy Northup and Rainer Blatt.

Quantum networkers

The University of Innsbruck physicists first trap a single calcium ion in an ion trap and position it between two highly reflective mirrors. "We use a laser to write the desired quantum information onto the electronic states of the atom," explains Stute. "The atom is then excited with a second laser, and as a result, it emits a photon. At this moment, we write the atom's quantum information onto the polarization state of the photon, thus mapping it onto the light particle." The photon is stored between the mirrors until it eventually flies out through one mirror, which is less reflective than the other. "The two mirrors steer the photon in a specific direction, effectively guiding it into an optical fiber," says Casabone. The quantum information stored in the photon could thus be conveyed over the optical fiber to a distant quantum computer, where the same technique could be applied in reverse to write it back onto an atom.

Support for this research was provided by the Austrian Science Funds and by the European Union.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Innsbruck. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. A. Stute, B. Casabone, B. Brandstδtter, K. Friebe, T. E. Northup, R. Blatt. Quantum-state transfer from an ion to a photon. Nature Photonics, 2013; DOI: 10.1038/NPHOTON.2012.358

Cite This Page:

University of Innsbruck. "Into the quantum Internet at the speed of light." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 4 February 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/02/130204094602.htm>.
University of Innsbruck. (2013, February 4). Into the quantum Internet at the speed of light. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 23, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/02/130204094602.htm
University of Innsbruck. "Into the quantum Internet at the speed of light." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/02/130204094602.htm (accessed August 23, 2014).

Share This




More Computers & Math News

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Apple iPhone 6 Screen Hits Snag Ahead of Launch

Apple iPhone 6 Screen Hits Snag Ahead of Launch

Reuters - Business Video Online (Aug. 22, 2014) — Reuters has learned Apple is scrambling to get enough screens ready for the iPhone 6. Sources say it's unclear whether this could delay the launch. Fred Katayama reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Is Apple's iMessage Really Being Overrun By Spammers?

Is Apple's iMessage Really Being Overrun By Spammers?

Newsy (Aug. 21, 2014) — A report says more than one third of all SMS spam over the past year came from a "single campaign" using iMessage and targeting iPhone users. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Families Can Now Ask Twitter To Remove Photos Of Deceased

Families Can Now Ask Twitter To Remove Photos Of Deceased

Newsy (Aug. 20, 2014) — In the wake of a high-profile harassment case, Twitter says family members can ask for photos of dying or dead relatives to be taken down. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ballmer Leaves Microsoft's Board, Has Advice For Nadella

Ballmer Leaves Microsoft's Board, Has Advice For Nadella

Newsy (Aug. 19, 2014) — In a letter to Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella, Ballmer said he's leaving the board of directors and offered tips on how the company can be successful. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins