Researchers and Innovators have recently demonstrated series of successful Quantum Teleportation, which is a major breakthrough for the actualization of Quantum Internet. With the increased interest of most Governments and giant techs in quantum computing, we can agree that the quantum internet and the major breakthroughs it will bring with it is close to realization. Such breakthroughs include not just hardware such as quantum devices, but also quantum theory powered webapps. Quantum internet is different from the Classical internet in many ways, and to an extent, both will come to be used for different purposes in the future. The Quantum internet will not exterminate the traditional internet, but will come to coexist with it.
We saw the technological breakthroughs that came with the internet boom, and the various devices that were introduced for enhanced interaction between users, computers and the various web applications running on the internet. Computers, smartphones, Virtual/Augmented Reality devices, smart gadgets, modems, routers and other tools that facilitates enhanced interaction between users and the computer. Though Quantum computing would serve more of institutional needs than private, here are a list of predicted devices that would forge the usage basis of the quantum internet.
QUANTUM DEVICES THAT WILL EMERGE WITH QUANTUM TECHNOLOGY
Quantum Computers and Quantum Processors
We already know that quantum internet will run on the theory of quantum mechanics, by utilizing a network of connected quantum computers. Such sophisticated web of interconnections would not be possible without the primary tool: Quantum Computers and Quantum Processors. Quantum Computers and Quantum Processors are computing systems that function on the basis of the theory of quantum mechanics, which provides description for nature in the realm of atomic and subatomic particles, against the pattern of Classical Physics, which describes nature at an ordinary/macroscopic scale. These specialized computers/processors will store information in the form of quantum bits or qubits. Qubits, unlike the bits associated with the normal computer which stores data utilizing the Boolean Algebra in which data must be processed in an exclusive binary state or bits, will be able to store data simultaneously, utilizing the unique superimposition and entanglement characteristic of particles on the quantum level.
Quantum Routers and Modems
Like the normal internet, quantum routers will serve as networking devices that will transmit/ channel traffics in the form of data packets (Qubits) from one quantum computer/processor network to another. Quantum modems would also emerge to simplify the process of data exchange, especially when mobility is required. These two gadgets will become in-demand with time as more and more institutions adopt the quantum technology.
Before we look at the role of quantum repeaters in the quantum internet, let’s consider an analogous device — a non-quantum, or “classical,” repeater.
The Internet transfers information in the form of bits along fiber optic cables. Some of these cables travel long distances, such as the SEA-ME-WE 3 undersea cable that reaches from Germany to Japan. However, as light passes through these fibers, it suffers from loss, or “attenuation,” as photons are absorbed by the fiber. To account for this, a “repeater” is inserted between nodes. Repeaters simply measure the signal coming in from one side, copy it, and retransmit it at higher power to the other side. As a result, the quantum internet is able to transmit information reliably over very long distances.
Loss is a problem in quantum networks as well, but unfortunately the same technique of measuring, copying, and retransmitting doesn’t translate to the quantum communications realm. This is due to a fundamental aspect of quantum information — it cannot be copied. This fact is known as the no-cloning theorem.
It turns out that we can’t measure quantum states on their way from point A to point B without destroying them. This actually provides some of the amazing benefits of quantum communications, like ultra-secure communication, but also means that we can’t use the same idea from classical repeaters to avoid loss in quantum channels.
So, how can we avoid the problem of loss in a quantum network?
How quantum repeaters work
Despite their name, quantum repeaters actually use a very different strategy than classical repeaters to handle the problem of loss. The core idea is based on the technique of entanglement swapping.
The primary goal of quantum networks is to distribute entanglement between members of the network. Entanglement distribution unlocks all kinds of applications, including even transmitting qubits. Entanglement swapping is a clever idea that gets around the problem of loss without violating the no-cloning theorem.
Entanglement swapping uses teleportation to create long-distance entanglement from a chain of locally connected repeaters
Entanglement swapping works by generating a single long-distance entanglement from many short-distance entanglements. One of the biggest obstacles to distributing long-distance entanglement is the exponential loss incurred due to fiber attenuation. Say Alice and Bob are connected by a fiber that is too long to transmit photons at a reasonable rate. They can add a repeater in the middle that instead accepts entangled photons from both Alice and Bob and then converts those into entanglement between Alice and Bob. In this way, the photons only need to travel half the distance and have a higher chance of making it all the way to their destination.
While the act of “gluing” together two separate entanglement links may sound magical, the repeater can do this using a simple operation called teleportation. As long as the repeater has qubits that are entangled with pairs at each of Alice and Bob, it can perform a measurement and report to Alice and Bob the information they need to use their newly entangled connection. By building up a chain of repeaters, we can break down long distances into more manageable segments over which to send our photons.
Teleportation between two nodes has been experimentally demonstrated by many different research groups, in many different scenarios (through a free-space link over 143 kilometers, across the Danube, and over a ground-to-satellite uplink). Most recently, Caltech demonstrated teleportation using telecom wavelengths, the wavelength of choice for building a quantum internet on top of existing classical infrastructure. So if we already have such a plethora of successful quantum teleportation experiments, why can’t we build real quantum repeaters? Well, efforts are already underway for some early demonstrations. However, the first repeaters need to be designed to handle the limitations of current devices. In fact, a timeline of repeater technology has emerged, separating repeaters into three categories: 1st generation, 2nd generation, and 3rd generation. These generations do not necessarily make each other obsolete, but they show how networks can expand to support increasingly powerful applications as technology improves.
· Quantum Gateways
· Quantum Hubs
· Quantum Data Centers
We will see emergence of industry specialists with target on the production of these specialized devices and gadgets that are needed to facilitate the quantum internet.Follow The Futurist For More