Bringing the Quantum Internet to Life
by Chris Gorski
Before a publicly available quantum network or internet can be built, researchers and other stakeholders must establish standards and meet a host of other challenges. At the Thursday session entitled "Quantum Communications and the Future Quantum Internet," a quartet of presenters detailed their efforts to make quantum networks a reality.
Joanna Skiba-Szymanska from Toshiba Research explained how quantum dots are enabling researchers to perform quantum communication at telecom wavelengths. She revealed results from research she did with colleagues to produce quantum dots -- highlighting how the droplet epitaxy method produces quantum dots that are more symmetrical than those constructed with the Stranski-Krastanov method. The droplet epitaxy process also features improved fine structure splitting. Her work has also produced quantum dots that exhibit entanglement in temperatures nearing 100 kelvins, among other advances.
Next, Ian Walmsley from Imperial College London discussed taking the tools and protocols required to make quantum networks big enough to be "interesting and useful." He reviewed research that explores the possibilities and challenges in developing quantum networks, as well as the way photons can be produced, synchronized and mixed, and how those details will factor into the capabilities and overall quality of quantum networks.
Then, Hiroki Takesue of NTT Basic Research Laboratories compared three different types of telecom-band photonics technologies -- waveguides made from silica, silicon, and lithium niobate -- and explained how they are likely to be used in quantum communications as networks develop in the future.
Finally, Bruno Huttner from ID Quantique discussed the timeline under which quantum security will become an important issue for individuals, companies and others. "We know the quantum computer will break existing cryptography," he said. Huttner detailed one prediction that quantum-based cryptography attacks could affect one in seven systems by 2026, and one in two by 2031. He said that convincing people to prepare for vulnerabilities that don't yet exist can be difficult, but that adapting cryptography to the demands of quantum computing and networking will require implementing safeguards that are still being developed. This includes quantum random number generators, algorithms that can resist quantum-based attacks and acceptable standards for quantum key distribution.
These researchers are among the many moving quickly to figure out how to make quantum communications more secure.
Posted: 21 Sep 2018 by Chris Gorski