The Internet we all know and love is made up of photons that cruise through millions of miles of fiber around the globe. Soon researchers could take the Internet to the quantum level.
Using entangled photons, particles that are linked via their quantum mechanical properties, researchers have shown that quantum information can travel through fiber optic networks. And now, Prem Kumar at Northwestern University has built an essential network device, called a switch, that can quickly reroute entangled photons. The new switch, which is compatible with any existing fiber optic network could improve secure quantum communication and be used to link up existing quantum computers.
For more details, follow the links below.
“A Quantum Communications Switch,” a short explainer I wrote for Technology Review that gives an overview of the new device and its applications (March 22, 2011)
“Photon Entanglement over the Fiber Optic Network,” a great primer by researcher Misha Brodskyt (January 11, 2011)
Prem Kumar’s website
“Toward a Quantum Internet,” article I wrote for Technology Review about Kumar’s in-fiber quantum logic gate (April 15, 2008)