Quantum communication is not exactly cutting edge technology, however, using quantum crystals in order to store and extend the range of photonic quantum communications is. A quantum repeater has been made using photonic crystals, enabling scientists to both store the duality of a photon and also store a state before projecting that signal to other crystals.
Quantum repeaters are a vital aspect of large-scale quantum communications, as with any distance, traditional quantum communication methods have shown non-negligible amounts of error in terms of particle loss during signal propagation. This experiment was performed at the University of Geneva and presents a new solution to a long-standing issue.
How does it work?
Quantum repeaters store the photons that represent the quantum signal both as a photon and as a state and then broadcast that signal to the next crystal in the chain. According to UNIGE, these crystals can store quantum states for “an arbitrarily long time” or as long as they want to store it there for.
Why do we need it?
Quantum communication enables much lower loss transmission than traditional fiber-optic channels as well as significantly more communication channels. In order to make quantum communication viable over long distances, however, a quantum repeater is vital, much like the RF repeaters of days past.
How will this impact business?
Quantum communication is sure on a level that would require break quantum mechanics as we know them in order to eavesdrop successfully. It is a current staple of quantum physics that simply observing a molecule or atom changes that atom. By securing information in this manner, it is likely that user privacy can make a comeback in the years to come.
Quantum communication has been a heavily investigated area over the last few years, alongside quantum computing. This recent discovery by UNIGE could very easily enable people to utilize a global or country-wide quantum communications network, much like individuals currently rely on carrier-grade cellular signal for communication.
Much like quantum computing, quantum communication is expected to assist with the advancement of technology to a high degree. We recently covered a quantum key secured blockchain project here, and that project relied on transmitting photons through traditional fiber-optic cable. By enabling quantum repeaters to operate, a global quantum blockchain can likely be established.