At the company’s R&D lab in Cambridge, UK, Toshiba scientists have successfully demonstrated that they can transmit quantum bits over hundreds of kilometres of optical fiber without colliding with the fragile quantum data encoded in the particles.
This is all thanks to a new technology that stabilizes the environmental fluctuations that occur in the fiber.
This could soon lead to creating a next-generation quantum internet that can span global distances.
This quantum internet, which will take the form of a global network of quantum devices connected by quantum communication links, will enable use cases that are impossible to create with today’s web applications.
Ranging from the creation of virtually unhackable communications to the formation of clusters of connected quantum devices that could together exceed the computing power of classical devices.
To communicate, quantum devices must send and receive qubits, tiny particles that exist in a special but very fragile quantum state. It is extremely difficult to find the best way to transmit qubits without dropping them out of their quantum state.
Toshiba researchers have developed “dual-band stabilization,” where signals at different wavelengths down the optical fiber. Both wavelengths combine to compensate for environmental fluctuations within the optical fibre in real-time, allowing qubits to travel safely over 600 kilometres.
This new technology has already been used in quantum-based encryption, better known as Quantum Key Distribution (QKD), which uses quantum networks to create security keys that cannot be hacked even by the most powerful computers.
Toshiba’s 600-kilometre mark is a record-breaker that will enable secure connections between cities such as London, Paris, and many others.
Other research groups, however, have had greater success: Chinese scientists, for example, used a mixture of satellite transmissions that communicated with optical fibers on the ground and were able to carry out QKD over a total distance of 4,600 kilometres.
For more information, read the original story from ZDNet.