Quantum Physics research can bring out radical change in how the internet can function in the future
Nothing can travel faster than light, according to classical physics laws. So it should be impossible to make matter or information vanish from one location and reappear on the other side of the world at the same time, right? According to researchers, teleportation became possible, not in the ordinary world of classic physics but in quantum physics. Quantum physics describes everything at the subatomic level.
The QuTech researchers have succeeded in teleporting data, a breakthrough in quantum internet research. Quantum computers, dubbed the “future of computing,” are said to be capable of tackling massive problems.
In the study, scientists created a three-node quantum network, giving each node a name: Alice, Bob, and Charlie. They then used optical fibers to connect Alice to Bob and Bob to Charlie. The experiment’s goal was to teleport quantum information between Alice and Charlie, which weren’t connected to each other directly. To do so, they had to first establish a teleportation link between the two. This is based on the quantum phenomenon of entanglement, which states that measuring one automatically changes the state of the other, regardless of how far apart they are.
Quantum entanglement is a strange, counterintuitive phenomenon that explains how two subatomic particles can be linked to each other even if separated by billions of light-years of space. Despite their vast separation, if one changes, the other one changes at the same time. This is regarded as an important idea in modern physics, but it conflicts with other well-established principles. For example, Albert Einstein had shown years before this new proposed idea came out that information cannot travel faster than the speed of light. So Entanglement concept famously unsettled Einstein himself, who described this phenomenon as “spooky action at a distance.” But today, it has been repeatedly confirmed in experimentation.
Once, a reporter asked a physicist if quantum teleportation could transport the soul as well as the body, and the physicist replied: “Not the body, just the soul.” This anecdote is significant for understanding quantum teleportation, where it is not “matter” that is transported through a medium but the information.
The technology of teleporting information between two nodes that didn’t have a direct link to each other would help bring about a promised quantum computing revolution as well as bring radical change in how networks function.
Just like a binary digit or bit is the basic unit of information in a classical computer, a qubit is a quantum computer’s basic unit of information. The vulnerability of qubits is what complicates this research; as soon as you touch them, their information is lost. If anyone tries to intercept a message, it vanishes. The breakthrough can give us a faster and more secure communication system. Also, it can pave the way for huge progress in the realms of medicine and artificial intelligence. But of course, there’s still a long way to go.
Quantum computing is a kind of computation that harnesses the properties of quantum states (superposition, interference, and entanglement) to perform calculations. The devices that perform quantum computations are known as quantum computers.
QuTech is a research institute founded in 2014 by the Delft University of Technology and the Netherlands Organisation for Applied Scientific Research (TNO).