Fiber-optic cables connect state-of-the-art devices to demonstrate high-fidelity quantum teleportation. (Image Credit: Fermilab)


In a collaborative effort, scientists from technology companies claim to have achieved sustained, long-distance quantum teleportation for the first time. This is a breakthrough that could pave the way toward quantum internet becoming a reality. Their findings are published in PRX Quantum.


“We’re thrilled by these results,” said Panagiotis Spentzouris, head of the Fermilab quantum science program and one of the paper’s co-authors. “This is a key achievement on the way to building a technology that will redefine how we conduct global communication.”


The team, a collaboration between Fermilab, AT&T, NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Harvard University, and the University of Calgary, teleported qubits of photons over 44 kilometers of fiber with fidelity greater than 90%.


Quantum teleportation relies on quantum entanglement. In this phenomenon, two particles are linked, allowing information from one particle to be shared with the other simultaneously. This means that the quantum state of each particle is dependent on each other, even when they’re separated over long distances.


The goal of the study was to teleport the state of quantum qubits. To achieve this, the scientists built a fiber-optic network with state-of-the-art single-photon detectors and off-the-shelf equipment between two labs separated by 44km. The equipment is compatible with telecommunications infrastructure and emerging quantum technologies. The system is comprised of three nodes that interact with one another, triggering a series of qubits that instantly pass a signal from one place to another.


Ultimately, the goal is to build quantum networks that use entanglement and superposition to increase computer power, speed, and security. The U.S. Department of Energy is planning on building a quantum network in its National laboratories.


Next, the team plans on further developing quantum information technology by creating a metropolitan-scale network around Chicago, called the Illinois Express Quantum Network. “With this demonstration, we’re beginning to lay the foundation for the construction of a Chicago-area metropolitan quantum network,” Spentzouris said.

Quantum computers operating on quantum internet could surpass the world’s most advanced supercomputer speeds by 100 trillion times.


“The feat is a testament to success of collaboration across disciplines and institutions, which drives so much of what we accomplish in science,” said Fermilab Deputy Director of Research Joe Lykken. “I commend the IN-Q-NET team and our partners in academia and industry on this first-of-its-kind achievement in quantum teleportation.”


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