A new programmable Switch takes us closer to achieving a practical Quantum Internet

Quantum internet, in theory, is capable of sending an enormous amount of data over large distances. It offers speeds that are faster than the speed of light. Scientists have been steadily progressing in building such a highly secured quantum network.

The key barrier in constructing such a high-speed network is the information distortion due to the loss of photons as they travel through the fiber-optic networks.

Now scientists have developed an integral programmable wavelength-selective switch to select and redirect the wavelengths of light carrying different data channels. The switch can help in building a network of 12 to 20 users without causing additional photon loss.

Previous methods used dozens of fixed optical filters tuned to individual wavelengths. Adjusting connections between users means physically interchanging the filters, which is practically impossible and results in photon loss.

The new switch removes the dependency on filters and takes care of directing data and reducing costs while increasing efficiency. The switch also has the capability of adjusting the bandwidth according to a user’s particular needs. The research is published in Optica.

The quantum network is based on the fact that entangled particles remain connected to each other even when separated by great distances. Actions performed on one of the particles affect the other irrespective of the distance separating them. This forms the basis of quantum computing as well as the quantum network.

This new method changes the rate at which the entangled photons are shared between different users. Another interesting fact is that one of the techniques used for this research is Dense Wavelength Division Multiplexing (DWDM), which is already used in communications to boost optical fiber network bandwidth.

There is still a lot of research to be done before implementing this solution for an actual quantum network. However, studies like these are taking us one step closer to develop a more practical quantum network.

The researchers also believe it will be easier to implement a quantum network if we can borrow technologies from our existing communication networks.

Source: ScienceAlert

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