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TECH SPACE
The beginning of the end of order
by Staff Writers
Konstanz, Germany (SPX) Mar 31, 2017


Microscopic image of lattice vibrations in a two-dimensional crystal consisting of a monolayer of approx. 6,500 colloids. Deviations of particle positions from ideal lattice sites can be observed. If these deviations grow (logarithmically) with the system size beyond all limits, they are due to Mermin-Wagner fluctuations. In a three-dimensional crystal, particle distances are fixed and deviations are limited, irrespective of the size of the crystal. Image courtesy University of Konstanz.

Nowadays we communicate via radio signals and send electrical pulses through long cables. This could change soon, however: Scientists have been working intensely on developing methods for quantum information transfer. This would enable tap-proof data transfer or, one day, even the linking of quantum computers.

Quantum information transfer requires reliable information transfer from one quantum system to the other, which is extremely difficult to achieve. Independently, two research teams - one at the University of Innsbruck and the other at TU Wien (Vienna) - have now developed a new quantum communication protocol.

This protocol enables reliable quantum communication even under the presence of contaminating noise. Both research groups work with the same basic concept: To make the protocol immune to the noise, they add an additional element, a so-called quantum oscillator, at both ends of the quantum channel.

Reliable data transfer
Scientists have conducted quantum communication experiments for a long time. "Researchers presented a quantum teleportation protocol already in the 1990s. It permits transferring the state of one quantum system to another by using optical photons," says Benoit Vermersch, Postdoc in Peter Zoller's group at the University of Innsbruck. This works also over great distances but one has to accept that a lot of the photons are lost and only a tiny fraction reaches the detector.

"Our goal was to find a way to reliably transfer a quantum state from one place to the other without having to do it several times to make it work," explains Peter Rabl from the Atominstitut, TU Wien.Superconducting qubits, in particular, are promising elements for future quantum technologies.

They are tiny circuits that can assume two different states at the same time. Contrary to conventional light switches that can be either turned on or turned off, the laws of quantum physics allow a qubit to assume any combination of these states, which is called quantum superposition.

To transfer this quantum state from one superconducting qubit to another requires microwave photons, which are already used for classic signal transfer. Reliably transferring quantum information via a microwave regime has been considered impossible as the constant thermal noise completely superposes the weaker quantum signal.

New transfer protocol
The two research groups have now shown that these obstacles are not impossible to overcome as previously assumed. In collaboration with teams from Harvard and Yale (USA) they have been able to develop a transfer protocol that is immune to the inevitable noise. "Our approach is to add another quantum system - a microwave oscillator - as a mediator at both ends of the protocol to couple the qubits instead of coupling them directly to the microwave channel or waveguide," explains Rabl.

"We cannot prevent the thermal noise that develops in the quantum channel," says Benoit Vermersch. "What is important is that this noise affects both oscillators on both ends in the same way. Therefore, we are able to exactly separate the detrimental effect of the noise from the weaker quantum signal through precise coupling to the waveguide."

"According to our calculations, we may connect qubits over several hundred meters with this protocol," says Peter Rabl. "We would still have to cool the channels but in the long term it will be technologically feasible to link buildings or even cities in a quantum physical manner via microwave channels."

TECH SPACE
ADATS could assist X-planes with large, super-fast data transmission
Edwards AFB CA (SPX) Mar 23, 2017
A network and communication architecture that can more efficiently move data from research aircraft, while using half the bandwidth of traditional methods, could eventually also enable data collection of precise measurements needed for testing the next generation of X-planes. Called the Advanced Data Acquisition and Telemetry System, or ADATS, researchers at NASA Armstrong Flight Research ... read more

Related Links
University of Konstanz
Space Technology News - Applications and Research

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