Quantum Internet: A step ahead in connecting quantum computers
Superconducting quantum computers work at extremely low temperatures. Why? Because they operate on microwave photons, that are sensitive to noise and losses.
Do you know how computers work? The calculations are based on binary numbers 0 and 1, and are also called bits. Computers provide instructions to manipulate and change these bits and that’s how different calculations and work are done in computers. A bit can be stored in either of two possible distinct states represented by a charge or a voltage.
However, in Quantum computers, these bits are represented by subatomic particles. They perform like normal computers, but a few special properties of particles like superposition and Quantum entanglement make the quantum computer faster, more diverse and much more efficient. Quantum computers can be very useful in various areas such as AI, biochemistry, quantum physics, space exploration and more.
Scientists have developed a new method that might help in linking quantum computers. We all use the internet. It is a mesh of interconnected computer networks. It helps each of the computers connect to each other and access the commonly shared information. If we can connect quantum computers we can call it 'Quantum Internet'.
Superconducting quantum computers work at extremely low temperatures. Why? Because they operate on microwave photons, that are sensitive to noise and losses. If we expose these photons to a higher temperature, the information will be destroyed. It is difficult to operate these computers in normal environment. Transferring data or connecting computers is risky because of the temperature cap.
Now, scientists have created a silicon beam. It has a length of 30 micrometers and is made up of a trillion (1012) atoms. But, how is it going to help in send information? In normal computers the information is sent in the form of light. The beam of light is sent through a physical tube like optical fiber. Similarly, this beam developed by scientists can help in sharing the information from quantum computers.
“What we have built is a prototype for a quantum link,” says Barzanjeh, one of the scientists involved in the project.
The interesting part of this discovery is, scientists have been able to use a mechanical object to generate entangled radiation.
“Imagine a box with two exits. If the exits are entangled, one can characterize the radiation coming out of one exit by looking at the other,” explains one of the scientists. “The question was: can one use such a large system to produce non-classical radiation? Now we know that the answer is: yes.”
Now, to use this technology, scientists need to build a link that can convert quantum computer’s microwave photons to optical information carriers. The way information in normal computers is converted in the form of light. Or a device that generates entangled microwave-optical fields as a resource for quantum teleportation. This link will help carry quantum information to room temperature.
“The oscillator that we have built has brought us one step closer to a quantum internet,” says one of the authors of the study that was published in journal Nature.
But this is not the only potential application of the device. It can be used to improve the performance of gravitational wave detectors. In the future we will be able to verify the potentially quantum nature of other hard to interrogate systems like living organisms or the gravitational field.