Scientists crack new method for high-capacity, secure quantum communication

A new method for transmitting quantum information has been developed by scientists, using particles of light known as qudits. Qudits, which can exist in a higher-dimensional state compared to conventional qubits, hold the potential for a faster, more secure quantum internet. This research was published in the journal eLight.

Traditionally, quantum information is encoded on qubits, which exist in a state of 0, 1, or both at the same time (superposition). Qudits, however, can encode information in higher dimensions, leading to faster data transfer rates and increased resistance to errors.

The new technique utilizes the spatial mode and polarization of light to create four-dimensional qudits. This process takes place on a special chip designed for precise manipulation. The manipulation of the qudits on this chip contributes to faster data transfer rates and enhanced resistance to errors compared to conventional methods.

One of the key advantages of this approach is the qudits’ ability to maintain their quantum properties over long distances, making them ideal for applications like satellite-based quantum communication, where data needs to travel vast distances without losing its integrity.

The process starts by generating a special entangled state using two photons. One photon (the signal photon) is manipulated on the chip to create a 4D qudit using its spatial mode and polarization, while the other photon (idler photon) remains unchanged and serves as a remote control for the signal photon. By manipulating the idler photon, scientists can control the state of the signal photon and encode information onto it.

This new method has the potential to revolutionize quantum communication, paving the way for a high-speed quantum internet capable of transmitting massive amounts of data securely over long distances. It could also lead to the development of unbreakable encryption protocols and the creation of powerful quantum computers capable of addressing problems beyond the reach of classical computers.

Currently, researchers are focusing on improving the accuracy of the qudits and scaling up the technology to handle even higher dimensions.

More information about this study can be found in the article titled “Integrated preparation and manipulation of high-dimensional flying structured photons,” published in eLight (2024). The Chinese Academy of Sciences provided this research.

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