COLORADO – Physicists from the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) have set a new record by ‘teleporting’ information over 100 km of optical fiber, breaking the previous record set on 25 km.
The research paper, published in the OSA Publishing journal, says that “quantum teleportation is an essential quantum operation by which we can transfer an unknown quantum state to a remote location with the help of quantum entanglement and classical communication”.
Quantum entanglement can be described as a physical phenomenon that allows particles to connect and interact as a group, so each quantum state of the particles involved cannot be looked at independently. On the other hand, classical communication happens when the result of an operation that took place in one part of the system is transferred or communicated to other part of the same system.
The research on quantum teleportation started 20 years ago, with the NIST working in that subject since 2004, and it has been evolving with a variety of physicists groups trying to prove Albert Einstein wrong about quantum mechanics. Einstein defended his theory saying “physics should represent a reality in time and space, free from spooky actions at a distance”, but researchers are getting closer to defeat that statement.
The advances made by the group of the NIST were possible thanks to a new method that uses SNSPDs, which stands for “high-detection-efficiency Superconducting Nanowire Single-Photon Detectors. These SNSPDs make it possible to perform highly efficient multifold photon measurements, allowing us to confirm that the quantum states of input photons were successfully teleported over 100 km of fiber”, as it reads on the paper.
The importance of measuring the state of the particle with the SNSPDs explained plain simple is that once you do it, it changes the state of his entangled partner, resulting in fast communication. Marty Stevens from the NIST said “we never could have done this experiment without these new detectors, which can measure this incredibly weak signal”, on a press release made on the NIST website.
This breakthrough is going to help improve the speed and safety of internet connections. It will also be used in something called Quantum cryptography, meaning both particles share a secret key to access the information, making it almost unhackable. Nevertheless, the research group don’t want people to be confused and say that this doesn’t mean that the possibility teleporting matter is nearby, because only information has been successfully teleported.
Source: OSA Publishing