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12/03/2021 06:50:06 pm

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Breakthrough in Quantum Teleportation Moves Us One Step Closer to the Quantum Internet

Quantum?

(Photo : NASA/JPL) Quantum teleportation explained in a cartoon.

In what's being variously described as historic and a true breakthrough, scientists for the first time successfully demonstrated the feasibility of quantum teleportation using an existing telecommunications network.

This marvelous accomplishment is a key step along the path to the long-term goal building a fiber-based quantum internet connecting cities, countries and the world. This new quantum network will launch a new kind of internet almost immune from hacking and spying.

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Two independent teams of scientists, one in China and one in Canada, succeeded in transferring quantum information over several miles of commercial optical fiber networks in a series of experiments. The experiments were carried out Calgary, Canada and Hefei, China.

Quantum teleportation bears no similarities to the teleportation seen in Star Trek and in other sci-fi movies. It refers to the instantaneous transmission of information and not actual matter like persons or things.

Quantum teleportation is a form communication not transportation. It provides a way of transporting a "qubit" or a "quantum bit" from one location to another without having to move a physical particle a qubit is normally attached to.

Quantum teleportation relies on this weird thing called "quantum entanglement" otherwise called "spooky action at a distance" by Albert Einstein. When two subatomic particles are entangled, changing the quantum state of one immediately changes the quantum state of the other, no matter how far apart they are.

This also means quantum entangled things can move a lot faster than the speed of light, which violates the classical laws of physics.

Using quantum entanglement, researchers in Canada sent quantum information over 6.2 kilometers of Calgary's fiber optic network. On the other hand, the Chinese team using a slightly different configuration did so over a distance of 12.5 km.

The development of super fast quantum computers; quantum cryptography and the creation of extremely secure "quantum internet" will revolutionize communications.

Quantum internet will allow users to transfer information through quantum states instead of the currently used strings of digital 0s and 1s. Since a hacker can't read the quantum state of a photon without disturbing it, a quantum network is unhackable.

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