The Quantum Internet is Born
"Years from now it may be said that the quantum Internet was born today." Of course, the quantum internet is just in the baby stages now - but when it matures, it will be able to process ridiculous amounts of data at blaring speed, and never be hacked. The system, developed by physicists Stephan Ritter and Gerhard Rempe at the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics in Germany, has two nodes. Although this is small, the internet you’re on right now started in the 1960s in a similar process.
This first quantum network was built by utilizing two atoms of rubidium which exchange photons. Each atom is placed inside an individual ‘room’ with highly reflective mirrors surrounding it, and at a short distance from its sister atom. These rooms, called optical cavities, are connected by an optical fiber.
First, scientists aim a laser at the first rubidium atom, which induces an emission of a single photon. That photon travels along the optical fiber to the other optical cavity, containing the other atom. Thanks to the mirrors, the photon bounces off the mirrors thousands of times, and is absorbed by the atom upon collision. This absorption transmits information about the first atom’s quantum state - and voila, a transfer of information.
The two rubidium atoms were entangled beforehand, which effectively means that they were linked together. During entanglement (read more about entanglement here), certain properties of the atoms are linked, and measuring one instantaneously produces the same result in the other atom. During this experiment, the atoms were entangled for 100 microseconds - a long time in quantum physicists. Entanglement what renders any form of hacking impossible - as soon as a would-be hacker tapped into the quantum network, the quantum states of the atoms would no longer match up.
This is the first step towards something great.
Read the press release.