Bits of the Future: First Universal Quantum Network Prototype Links 2 Separate Labs

WANDERLUST

Physicists demonstrate a scalable quantum network that ought to be adaptable for all manner of long-distance quantum communication.

Quantum technologies are the way of the future, but will that future ever arrive?

Maybe so. Physicists have cleared a bit more of the path to a plausible quantum future by constructing an elementary network for exchanging and storing quantum information. The network features two all-purpose nodes that can send, receive and store quantum information, linked by a fiber-optic cable that carries it from one node to another on a single photon.

The network is only a prototype, but if it can be refined and scaled up, it could form the basis of communication channels for relaying quantum information. A group from the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics (M.P.Q.) in Garching, Germany, described the advance in the April 12 issue of Nature. (Scientific American is part of Nature Publishing Group.)

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