Throughout this year, a research team from the Netherlands will complete a quantum internet connection between Delft and The Hague.
Than? Later this year, a team of researchers will create a quantum internet network between Delft and The Hague (Netherlands).
Why? The Internet is increasingly vulnerable to hackers, but its quantum version will be impossible to hack.
Who? Delft University of Technology (Netherlands), Quantum Internet Alliance, University of Science and Technology of China.
When? In the next five years.
Soon, an internet network based on the properties of quantum physics will allow inherently secure communication. The responsible team, led by Delft University of Technology researcher Stephanie Wehner, is working on a network that would connect four cities in the Netherlands using quantum technology. Messages sent through it will be impossible to hack.
In recent years, scientists have learned to transmit pairs of photons through fiber optic cables in a way that 100% protects the information encoded in them. A Chinese team used this strategy to create a 2,000-kilometer backbone network between Beijing and Shanghai (both in China), but the project relies, in part, on some conventional components that occasionally break the quantum link before establishing one. again, posing a risk of hacking.
Instead, Delft’s network will be the first to transmit information between cities using end-to-end quantum techniques. The technology is based on a quantum phenomenon of atomic particles called entanglement. Thanks to it, entangled photons cannot be read covertly without interrupting their content.
But it is difficult to create entangled particles and much more, transmit them over long distances. Wehner’s team has shown that it can send them more than 1.5 kilometers away, and they are confident that they can create a quantum link between Delft and The Hague later this year. Ensuring an uninterrupted connection over longer distances will require quantum repeaters to expand network capacity. At the beginning of the year, a Chinese team managed to entangle two particles separated by an optical fiber cable 50 kilometers apart, but in reality, the cable was coiled and located entirely in the same room.
Delft and other labs are already working on designs for these repeaters. The first should be ready in the next five to six years, according to Wehner, which would allow a global quantum network to be created by the end of this decade.