- Physicists manage to teleport information within a diamond.
- The breakthrough could shape how we store and share sensitive data in the future.
Quantum teleportation, a phenomenon most commonly used in sci-fi movies, is used to send a quantum bit (qubit) from one location to another. Instead of actually teleporting particles, the process involves destroying a state of one particle on one side and extracting it on the other side.
The principle of quantum teleportation is widely used in quantum computing and storage of highly confidential information, including DNA data, which is securely transmitted by photons into quantum memories.
Recently, Japanese researchers at Yokohama National University achieved a breakthrough in quantum teleportation: they successfully teleported information within a diamond. This could shape how we store and share sensitive data in the future.
How Did They Do It?
The team chose to experiment with diamonds because it provides the perfect condition for quantum teleportation. The arrangement of carbon atoms in a diamond is so rigid that it can be contaminated with a few types of impurity.
One of the complex defects diamonds can have is ‘nitrogen-vacancy center’. In this case, an atom of nitrogen exists in one of two adjacent vacancies that should be filled with atoms of carbon. The nucleus of a nitrogen atom, which is surrounded by atoms carbon, forms a ‘nanomagnet’.
Researchers took advantage of this defect to create unique electromagnetic phenomena. They connected a very thin wire to the surface of the diamond and ran a radio wave and microwave through it, producing an oscillating magnetic field around the diamond.
Reference: Communications Physics | DOI:10.1038/s42005-019-0158-0 | Yokohama National University
They carefully altered the radio wave and microwave frequencies to generate an optimal environment for the transfer of qubit inside the diamond.
The specific frequencies triggered an entanglement between the spinning nucleus of the adjacent carbon atom and an electron anchored to the nanomagnet.
The carbon isotope is first entangled with an electron in the vacancy, which then waits for a photon (red) to absorb, and this results in qubit teleportation.
The electron spin breaks down under a magnetic field created by the nanomagnet, allowing it to become susceptible to entanglement.
Once two particles are entangled, we can look at one and tell the physical characteristics of the other, even if they are separated by a significant distance. This is what makes the teleportation of quantum data possible.
Since one particle memorizes the polarization state of the other, the process can also be used to store quantum information. The ultimate objective is to develop scalable quantum repeater for distributed quantum computers and long-haul quantum communications.