– The University of Chicago and the US Department of Energy (DOE) recently unveiled a blueprint strategy for the development of a national quantum internet.
A quantum internet is essentially a platform where computers, networks, and sensors exchange information in a new manner. Sensing, communication, and computing will be able to work together efficiently as one entity.
Quantum transmissions are extremely beneficial due to their efficiency and security. It is nearly impossible to hack networks or obtain information being passed between locations.
Creating networks of ultra-sensitive quantum sensors could allow engineers to better monitor and predict earthquakes. They may be able to search for underground deposits of oil, gas or minerals.
These sensor networks also have the ability to enhance healthcare and imaging as well.
“The Department of Energy is proud to play an instrumental role in the development of the national quantum internet,” said US Secretary of Energy Dan Brouillette. “By constructing this new and emerging technology, the United States continues with its commitment to maintain and expand our quantum capabilities.”
DOE’s 17 national laboratories will be crucial to the development of quantum internet, which will rely on the laws of quantum mechanics to control and exchange information in a secure manner.
If the quantum internet is able to effectively and efficiently expedite vast amounts of data, the technology world could have a breakthrough in data communication.
Already, scientists from DOE’s Argonne National Laboratory and the University of Chicago intertwined photons across a 52-mile quantum loop, which established one of the longest land-based quantum networks in the nation.
That network will soon be connected to DOE’s Fermilab, creating three-node, 80-mile testbed, which is used for testing new machinery.
“The combined intellectual and technological leadership of the University of Chicago, Argonne, and Fermilab has given Chicago a central role in the global competition to develop quantum information technologies,” said Robert J. Zimmer, president of the University of Chicago.
“This work entails defining and building entirely new fields of study, and with them, new frontiers for technological applications that can improve the quality of life for many around the world and support the long-term competitiveness of our city, state, and nation.”
To put the nationwide network into place successfully, there are four key milestones, including:
- Verify secure quantum protocols over existing fiber networks
- Send entangled information across campuses or cities
- Expand the networks between cities
- Expand between states, using quantum “repeaters” to amplify signals
“The foundation of quantum networks rests on our ability to precisely synthesize and manipulate matter at the atomic scale, including the control of single photons,” said David Awschalom, the liew family professor in molecular engineering at the University of Chicago’s Pritzker school of molecular engineering, senior scientist at Argonne National Laboratory and director of the Chicago Quantum Exchange.
“Our National Laboratories house world-class facilities to image materials with subatomic resolution and state-of-the-art supercomputers to model their behavior. These powerful resources are critical to accelerating progress in quantum information science and engineering, and to leading this rapidly evolving field in collaboration with academic and corporate partners.”
DOE National Laboratories, universities, and industries first gathered back in February to developed the blueprint strategy.
And currently, Fermilab is working with Argonne, Caltech, Northwestern University and tech startups to develop the architecture to deploy and connect quantum communication across the city of Chicago.
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