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Progress towards a quantum Internet gathers pace

The process deploys circularly polarized light, which is used to flip the spin state of an electron on a quantum dot (the dot is so small that there is only enough space for a single electron to pass). This process could offer a different path towards a completely secure ‘quantum Internet’ , according to technologists from Japan’s Osaka University.

The quantum Internet is a concept based on the theoretical use of quantum computers to construct a new kind of network. Where the traditional internet operates through the use of binary signals in data packets, the quantum Internet would instead utilize quantum signals. This process essentially involves the systems forming the Internet sending information to each other via quantum signals.

The idea of a quantum Internet is probably a decade away, and such a system would most likely become a specialized branch of the classic Internet, so it may only exit, at least initially, as a solution for very specialized applications. The key advantage is with the use of quantum encryption or cryptography which would provide an unprecedented level of security.

One area hampering progress is stability. To achieve a quantum Internet light signals need to be able to interact with electron spins inside distant computers. The new research achieves this by applying laser light to transmit quantum information via a quantum dot by changing the spin state of a single electron. The application of rapid optical manipulation of individual electron spins could be the foundation for a quantum nano-scale computing platform and quantum Internet.

The research has been published in the journal Nature Communications, in a paper called “Angular momentum transfer from photon polarization to an electron spin in a gate-defined quantum dot.”

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Dr. Tim Sandle is Digital Journal's Editor-at-Large for science news. Tim specializes in science, technology, environmental, business, and health journalism. He is additionally a practising microbiologist; and an author. He is also interested in history, politics and current affairs.

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