Quantum entanglement will make the quantum internet ‘unhackable’ through quantum steering

Looking to the future: Quantum entanglement would virtually eliminate all security issues facing the modern Internet. That’s the theory, at least. According to new research, there is a (theoretical) way to “steer” entangled photons to avoid loss of information.

Professor Mehul Malik has been studying quantum technologies for 15 years. With his team at the Heriot-Watt Institute for Photonics and Quantum Sciences, Malik has devised a new way to send quantum information over optical fibers – a way that helps prevent data loss and brings the concept of quantum internet of reality.

The Quantum Internet is a theoretical model for a next-generation network based on the strange phenomena belonging to quantum computing theory. The strangest phenomenon is known as quantum entanglement because it describes two particles or groups of particles (eg, two photons of light) that stay connected regardless of distance. The quantum state of one entangled particle cannot be described independently of the state of the other, regardless of the speed of light.

Quantum technology attempts to exploit the quantum properties of subatomic particles to develop incredibly powerful computers or to dramatically improve the security of network communications and navigation systems. The problem with quantum entanglement, however, is that “transmitting” entangled photons over optical fibers becomes difficult over long distances due to noise and information loss.

“Even the best fiber optics in the world will experience some loss per kilometer,” Malik said, “so that’s a big hurdle to making this form of quantum communication possible.” The new research he developed with his team, however, shows for the first time that “quantum entanglement can tolerate both noise and loss – and still survive in a strong form known as quantum steering”.

Quantum steering is a technique that can improve the robustness of entanglement by using “qudits,” which are essentially arrays of qubits (the binary equivalent in quantum computing) arranged in multiple dimensions. The researchers used the spatial structure of light to entangle photons in a 53-dimensional space made up of “pixels” of light.

The result: Quantum steering allowed them to transmit the entangled photons under lossy and noise-like conditions equivalent to 79 km of fiber optic cables, even with 36% white noise like that which might come from penetrating sunlight. in the experience. Another counterintuitive finding from the new research, Malik said, was that increasing the number of dimensions in quantum entanglement also dramatically reduces the time it takes to measure results.

“The efficient and reliable flow of information is at the heart of today’s modern society,” explained the professor; to build such a “quantum” Internet, “we must be able to send quantum entanglement over real distances” tolerating noise and loss in transmission.

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Quantum entanglement will make the quantum internet ‘unhackable’ through quantum steering

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