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University of Chicago expands quantum network

Written by Fri 24 Jun 2022

Using technology provided by Toshiba, scientists at the University of Chicago have been able to connect the city of Chicago and suburban labs via a quantum network.

This expanded network will be used by researchers to test new communication devices, security protocols and algorithms.

There are now six nodes on the Chicago network in total with 124 miles of optical fiber transmitting particles carrying quantum-encoded information between locations in the city. The advent of quantum computing is expected to enable researchers and scientists to solve extremely complex problems that current computers are not able to.

This extension has been constructed on the Argonne National Laboratory’s 89 mile quantum loop to connect the South Side of Chicago to an advanced quantum network.

“The Chicago quantum network presents researchers with unprecedented opportunities to transmit quantum information in a real-world environment and push the boundaries of what is currently possible with quantum security protocols,” said David Awschalom, the Liew Family Professor in Molecular Engineering and Physics at the University of Chicago.

Scientists from academia, industry and government labs will be able to use this extension to better collaborate on issues that help to advance the understanding of quantum communication and to develop a secure quantum internet.

One of the main reasons that the government and institutions are investing heavily in the expansion of quantum networks is so that communication networks can be made quantum secure and hack proof. A range of industries would benefit from this form of virtually un-hackable solutions, including military, financial and voting.

By sending secure digital keys via quantum security protocols and a network of optical fiber through particles of light, called photons, any attempt by hackers to intercept these communications will result in the photons destroying the information they hold.

Written by Fri 24 Jun 2022


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