Quantum Internet - NASA Scientists Achieve Long-Distance Quantum Teleportation

Quantum Teleportation is now a reality. For the first time, researchers were able to send qubits (Quantum Bit) of photons through a fiber-optic cable.

The achievement can revolutionize data storage and computing by developing a quantum internet service. Scientists also claim that it will lead us to a new era of communication.


44 kilometers of a fiber-optic network was used to send qubits with a 90 percent degree of accuracy. This would be compatible with existing internet infrastructure as this network was built with help of the existing equipment.


Maria Spiropulu, a particle physicist at Caltech, said that the team has been working persistently and keeping their heads down in the past few years. Though they knew that Quantum Teleportation had achieved significant results by the spring of 2020 but they refrained from sharing the news, even informally on social media, until the publication of the full study this week.


Instead of using traditional bits, the ‘1’s’ and ‘0’s’ Qubits use quantum bits or qubits, hence the name, to encode digital information. They can function as both a ‘1’ and a ‘0’ at the same time being in a state of superposition, and therefore, each new qubit added to the computer increases its power exponentially rather than linearly.


So, Quantum teleportation is a transfer of quantum states from one location to the other. This transfer was done using quantum entanglement in which two particles are linked in such a way that information shared with one is shared with the other exactly at the same time.


It is because of the fact that the particles exist in states of probabilities and their exact position, momentum, and spin are not determined until the particle has been measured.


Depending upon how they are measured, photons behave in this way, becoming a wave or a particle.


Panagiotis Spentzouris, head of the Quantum Science Program at Fermilab said that they wanted to push the envelope for this type of research and take important steps on a path to test fundamental physics ideas and to realize real-life applications for quantum communications and networks.

Quantum computing has been on the verge of its breakthrough for years, and this research takes us one step closer to realizing it on a practical scale. But we shouldn't expect to surf a quantum internet anytime soon as a lot of R&D work is there to be done to use Quantum Teleportation in practical life, said Maria Spiropulu, professor of physics at Caltech.

Quantum computers are on a whole different level as compared to present supercomputers as they are capable of performing computations nearly a hundred trillion times faster than the world’s most powerful supercomputer. Teams from the University of Science and Technology of China, as well as Google, are working on it together.

Spentzouris said that the scientists could lay the foundation for the construction of a Chicago-area metropolitan quantum network with the help of a blueprint for national quantum internet in Chicago which was recently unveiled by The US Department of Energy.

This research was published in PRX Quantum by researchers from Fermilab, AT&T, Caltech, Harvard University, Nasa’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, and the University of Calgary.

There are many fronts that they need to push forward,” said Spentzouris, both in advancing the engineering of the systems and in applications of quantum communication and network technologies. And they are already working hard on optimizing and developing processes, architecture, and protocols for quantum networks along with some metrics including the rate of communications and range.

Professor Spiropulu said that they are very proud to have achieved this milestone on high-performing, sustainable, and scalable quantum teleportation systems. He also added that these results would be further improved with system upgrades and they are expecting to complete this by Q2 2021.