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The journal Nature Photonics publishes this week two independent studies on quantum teleportation, one conducted in China and the other in Canada. The authors have succeeded in remotely transferring quantum information encoded in light particles from one place to another over several kilometers of fiber optic networks in two different cities: Hefei (China) and Calgary (Canada).
Both studies show that quantum teleportation through metropolitan networks is technologically feasible and paves the way for technologies and communications networks of the future, such as the quantum internet. The technology has the potential to greatly improve the security and speed of internet connections, according to the scientists involved in the projects.
However, quantum teleportation over long distances, using a fiber network, requires independent light sources, and this presents a technological challenge: the light beam from one source has to remain indistinguishable from the light beam from the other source afterwards. having traveled through several kilometers of fiber, which is installed in an environment subject to constant changes.
To overcome this hurdle, both groups independently developed various feedback and timing mechanisms.
Researchers Qiang Zhang and Jian-Wei Pan, together with their team from the China University of Science and Technology, implemented their field test in Hefei and used light at the telecommunication wavelength, as used in networks. current, to minimize the rate at which the signal light fades through the fiber.
For their part, Wolfgang Tittel and his colleagues from the University of Calgary carried out their test in this Canadian city. They used photons at a telecommunication wavelength and also at a length of 795 nanometers (nm), which allowed the quantum teleportation experiment to be faster than that of the Chinese team, but with reduced fidelity.
In an opinion piece, the French quantum physicist Frédéric Grosshans, from the Paris-Saclay University in Orsay, indicates that "these two experiments clearly show that teleportation over metropolitan distances is technologically possible. Without a doubt - he adds - many experiments of interesting quantum information in the future will be based on these works. "
Bibliographic reference: Qiang Zhang et al. "Quantum teleportation with independent sources over an optical fiber network" "Nature Photonics (September 19, 2016) Wolfgang Tittel." Quantum teleportation across a metropolitan fiber network. "Nature Photonics (September 19, 2016)