‘Bob and Alice’ enable Long-distance quantum teleportation

‘Bob and Alice’ enable Long-distance quantum teleportation

Technology News |
By Wisse Hettinga

Quantum teleportation is a technique allowing the transfer of quantum information between two distant quantum objects, a sender and a receiver, using a phenomenon called quantum entanglement as a resource. The unique feature of this process is that the actual information is not transferred by sending quantum bits (qubits) through a communication channel connecting the two parties; instead, the information is destroyed at one location and appears at the other one without physically travelling between the two. This surprising property is enabled by quantum entanglement, accompanied by the transmission of classical bits.

Bob and Alice talk Quantum Internet

There is a deep interest in quantum teleportation nowadays within the field of quantum communications and quantum networks because it would allow the transfer of quantum bits between network nodes over very long distances, using previously shared entanglement. This would help the integration of quantum technologies into current telecommunication networks and extend the ultra-secure communications enabled by these systems to very long distances. In addition, quantum teleportation permits the transfer of quantum information between different kinds of quantum systems, e.g. between light and matter or between different kinds of quantum nodes.

From left to right: researchers Hugues de Riedmatten (group leader), Dario Lago, Jelena Rakonjac, and Samuele Grandi in the lab at ICFO. Image credit: ICFO/ D. Lago

Quantum teleportation was theoretically proposed in the early 90s and experimental demonstrations were carried out by several groups around the world. While the scientific community has gained extensive experience on how to perform these experiments, there is still an open question on how to teleport information in a practical way, allowing reliable and fast quantum communication over an extended network. It seems clear that such an infrastructure should be compatible with the current telecommunications network. In addition, the protocol of quantum teleportation requires a final operation to be applied on the teleported qubit, conditioned on the result of the teleportation measurement (transmitted by classical bits), in order to transfer the information faithfully and at a higher rate, a feature called active feed-forward. This means that the receiver requires a device known as a quantum memory that can store the qubit without degrading it until the final operation can be implemented. Finally, this quantum memory should be able to operate in a multiplexed fashion to maximize the speed of teleporting information when the sender and the receiver are far away. To date, no implementation had incorporated these three requirements in the same demonstration.

In a recent study published in Nature Communications, ICFO researchers Dario Lago-Rivera, Jelena V. Rakonjac, Samuele Grandi, led by ICREA Prof. at ICFO Hugues de Riedmatten have reported achieving long distance teleportation of quantum information from a photon to a solid-state qubit, a photon stored in a multiplexed quantum memory. The technique involved the use of an active feed-forward scheme, which, together with the multimodality of the memory, has allowed maximization of the teleportation rate. The proposed architecture was compatible with the telecommunications channels, and thus enabling future integration and scalability for long-distance quantum communication.

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