Typical definition of quantum teleportation is the ability to transmit from one location to another without the need to travel through space in between. However, matter itself does not make this journey, only the information that describes it. Subsequently this is transmitted on to a new body that easily takes on the identity of the original.
Though science fiction fanatics are focused on the body involved, alternatively quantum physicists are more interested in the information. The physicists find fascination in the enabling teleportation technology, which is behind the new generation of information processing technologies. This includes the quantum internet that allows for information to be transmitted with perfect security.
It is predicted that one of the building blocks of the quantum internet will be quantum routers that can receive information from location and route it on to another without destroying it. So, the race is on to demonstrate the qualities of the technology, which clearly has the potential to revolutionise telecommunications.
In February 2014, Dr Felix Bussières, University of Geneva (UG), Switzerland, and a few co-workers state that they have taken a crucial step towards this. The co-workers have managed to teleport quantum information on to crystal doped with rare-earth ions. The rare-earth ions are a type of quantum memory. However, the co-workers have accomplished their work by demonstrating on to ordinary optical fibre that it is used in the telecommunications industry all over the world.
A crucial requirement for the widespread teleportation is to do with entangled photons with a wavelength compatible with the telecommunication fibre. Unfortunately, the adjacent requirement is not so easy to produce because the entangled photons must be compatible with the discrete energy jumps in the quantum memory. As stated by Bussières et al. - This wavelength is typically far away from the low-loss region of standard optical fibre."
The trick the co-workers have perfected is to generate entangled pairs of photons with different wavelengths. The first has a wavelength of 883 nm (Near Infrared (NIR)), which is compatible with a type of quantum memory mode of neodymium-doped yttrium orthosilicate crystals (Nd:Y2SiO5). Whereas the second has a wavelength of 1338 nm (Mid Infrared (MIR)), which easily passes through telecommunications optical fibre.
The quantum state to be teleported is the polarisation of a 1338 nm photon. So the co-workers send the 883 nm signal to the quantum memory where it is stored whilst transmitting the 1338 nm signal through a 12 km fibre to another apparatus that prepares a third photon (1338 nm) with the polarisation to be teleported. The, above, is when the teleportation happens, thus, when the two 1338 nm photons are made to interact in a certain way, the polarisation is teleported on to the quantum memory at the other end of the experiment.
The physicists measurements of the photons show that the polarisation state is indeed teleported as quantum mechanics suggests. Such a suggestion is a crucial element of the experiment for a new generation of single photon detectors that can spot telecommunication photons with much greater efficiency than has been possible previously.
In summary, the Swiss co-workers have demonstrated for the first time all the components necessary to carry out teleportation over a standard telecommunications network on to a solid state quantum memory. Though it is a small development it is still a significant step forward. Original article available here
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