Saturday, January 10, 2015

Australian National University Made Quantum Hard Drive Breakthrough

Australian National University Made Quantum Hard Drive Breakthrough

Physicists developing a prototype quantum hard drive have improved storage time by a factor of more than 100.

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The team’s record storage time of six hours is a major step towards a secure worldwide data encryption network based on quantum information, which could be used for banking transactions and personal emails.

“We believe it will soon be possible to distribute quantum information between any two points on the globe,” said lead author Manjin Zhong, from the Research School of Physics and Engineering(RSPE).

“Quantum states are very fragile and normally collapse in milliseconds. Our long storage times have the potential to revolutionise the transmission of quantum information.”

Quantum information promises unbreakable encryption because quantum particles such as photons of light can be created in a way that intrinsically links them. Interactions with either of these entangled particles affect the other, no matter how far they are separated.

The team of physicists at ANU and the University of Otago stored quantum information in atoms of the rare earth element europium embedded in a crystal.

Their solid-state technique is a promising alternative to using laser beams in optical fibres, an approach which is currently used to create quantum networks around 100 kilometres long.

“Our storage times are now so long that it means people need to rethink what is the best way to distribute quantum data,” Ms Zhong said.

“Even transporting our crystals at pedestrian speeds we have less loss than laser systems for a given distance.”

“We can now imagine storing entangled light in separate crystals and then transporting them to different parts of the network thousands of kilometres apart. So, we are thinking of our crystals as portable optical hard drives for quantum entanglement.”


Their research is published in Nature.

Nature have also published a review of the work.

News Release Source : Quantum hard drive breakthrough

Image Credit : Australian National University

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