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How to Span the Quantum Gap

Edwin Cartlidge

Building continental-scale quantum communications links is an arduous task, but scientists believe they have the technology in hand.

figureA research team at the University of Science and Technology of China, Hefei, was one of two groups last year to demonstrate an “absorptive” memory that could be used in a multiplexed quantum repeater. [G. Wang and Y. Ma/USTC]

The fiber optic cables that crisscross the world’s oceans are studded every few tens of kilometers by repeaters—devices that compensate for the fibers’ attenuation by boosting the power of a signal and retransmitting it. The development of all-optical repeaters has made this amplification process extremely efficient, leading to the huge growth in internet traffic seen over the last two decades—and with it, the rise of social media, cryptocurrencies and “smart working.”

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Publish Date: 01 April 2022


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