New quantum breakthrough could lead to more secure online communication

A new breakthrough in quantum communication aims to make cyberspace much more secure and resistant to cyber threats.

The new study by the University of Bristol, released in Science Advances, involves the largest quantum network ever tested for maintaining secure connections.

“We present a fully connected quantum communication network on a city-wide scale without active switching or trusted nodes. We demonstrate simultaneous and secure connections between all 28 pairings of eight users,” the co-authors explained in their article.

“Our novel network topology is easily scalable to many users, allows traffic management features, and minimizes the infrastructure as well as the user hardware needed.”

In past research, the use of quantum key distribution has led to effective encryption between two users. However, in the new study, a quantum technique known as entanglement was at the center of their breakthrough.

“The team’s quantum technique applies a seemingly magical principle, called entanglement,” a Bristol news release states.

“It exploits the power of two different particles placed in separate locations, potentially thousands of miles apart, to simultaneously mimic each other. This process presents far greater opportunities for quantum computers, sensors, and information processing.”

Researchers used what is known as multiplexing so that light particles can be transmitted between multiple users efficiently. A user network was created using receiver boxes, which were then connected to optical fibers across Bristol. Its capability for transmission through quantum communication was put to the test utilizing the city’s existing optical fiber network.

The findings showed that their new technique could make the transmission of messages entirely secure from interception.

“Our solution is scalable, relatively cheap and, most important of all, impregnable. That means it’s an exciting game changer and paves the way for much more rapid development and widespread rollout of this technology,” said Siddarth Joshi, the study’s lead author, in a news release.

Image courtesy of Tes