Science

Imperfect Diamonds for a Viable Quantum Internet

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We have known for a few years that synthetic diamond is a solid ally of quantum computers: it is capable of maintaining the state of superposition – difficult to implement – to calculate several values ​​simultaneously. But diamonds contain flaws, better known as “nitrogen vacancy centers.” In order to create a quantum Internet, researchers at Yokohama National University have developed an interface method to control these faults, through quantum entanglement of photons and spin.

In quantum computing, it is about the concept of superposition. The “qubit” – the quantum equivalent of the information bits in classical systems – is capable, in the atomic state, of taking several values ​​simultaneously. But due to the phenomenon of decoherence, overlapping states are difficult to control. Synthetic diamond is proving useful in the development of quantum computing because it is capable of maintaining the much sought-after state of superposition.

Basically, a pure diamond is made up of identical carbon atoms, arranged in a regular mesh structure. When a carbon nucleus is missing in its crystalline structure and a nitrogen atom comes to occupy the place adjacent to this space within the cell (which is a common point defect), this is called “the nitrogen center. -Lacune” ( or NV center). Such a structure exhibits photoluminescence properties and can be controlled at room temperature by applying a magnetic field, an electric field, microwave or visible radiation, or a set of these stimuli.

Schematic representation of a nitrogen vacancy center in a diamond crystal.

However, there is a major problem: the control of these faults by a magnetic field is incompatible with existing quantum devices. To be clearer, imagine that we are trying to connect to the Internet (via WiFi) one of the first personal computers developed in 1974. It is a difficult task, but not impossible! The two technologies speak different languages, so the first step is to translate. In the case of quantum computers, the problem is similar, but more complex.

Nitrogen Gap Center: Controlling It to Design a Quantum Internet

Researchers from Yokohama National University have just developed an interface method to control NV centers in diamonds to allow direct translation to quantum devices. “To realize the quantum Internet, you need an interface to generate remote quantum entanglement by photons, which are a quantum communication medium,” Hideo Kosaka, a co-author of the study and a professor, said in a statement. At the Yokohama National University Research Center for Quantum Information and Physics Department.

The promised quantum Internet has its roots in more than a century of work in which researchers determined that photons are both particles and waves (wave-particle duality). Furthermore, the two states can influence each other and their nature becomes entangled, even at great distances. Therefore, it is about controlling entanglement – or quantum entanglement – to communicate discrete data instantly and securely. Previous research has shown that this controlled entanglement can be achieved by applying a magnetic field to vacant nitrogen centers, but a non-magnetic field approach is still needed to come close to achieving the quantum internet.

Coupling entanglement with quantum teleportation transfer

Therefore, the team of researchers used polarized waves in microwaves and in light to entangle an emitted photon and left-spin qubits. These polarizations are waves that travel perpendicular to the original source, like seismic waves that radiate horizontally from a vertical fault.

In quantum mechanics, the spin property (right or left) of the photon determines how the polarization moves, which means that it is predictable and controllable. According to Kosaka, when entanglement is induced through this property in a non-magnetic field, the connection appears stable with respect to the other variables. “The geometric nature of the polarizations allows us to generate quantum entanglement at a distance that resists noise and timing errors,” he said.

An experiment already shows an entanglement state fidelity of 86.8%. The Japanese team will then combine this approach with a transfer of quantum information by teleportation (transfer of the quantum state from one system to another similar system). This is to generate quantum entanglement and the resulting information exchange, even between distant points. The ultimate goal is to facilitate the establishment of a connected network of quantum computers to establish a quantum Internet.

“The realization of a quantum internet will allow quantum cryptography, distributed quantum computing and quantum detection at great distances (more than 1000 kilometers)”, concludes the researcher.

Physics of Communications

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