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Drones could help create a quantum internet

It is possible that quantum internet comes through a drone.

Scientists have now used drones to transmit light particles, or photons, that share the quantum bond called a tangle. The photons were sent to two places a kilometer away, researchers at Nanjing University in China reported in a study that would appear in Physical Review Letters.

Entangled quantum particles can retain their interconnected properties even when separated by long distances. This counterintuitive behavior can be harnessed to allow for new types of communication. Finally, scientists aim to build a global quantum internet that relies on the transmission of quantum particles to enable ultra-secure communications by using particles to create secret codes to encrypt messages. A quantum internet could also allow distant quantum computers to work together or perform experiments that test the limits of quantum physics.

Quantum networks made with fiber optic cables are already being used (SN: 28/09/20). And a quantum satellite can transmit photons all over China (SN: 15/06/17). Drones could serve as one more technology for these networks, with the advantages of being easily mobile and relatively fast and inexpensive to deploy.

The researchers used two drones to transmit the photons. One drone created pairs of tangled particles, sending one particle to one station on the ground while relaying another to the second drone. The machine then transmitted the received particle to a second earth station one kilometer away from the first. In the future, unmanned aircraft fleets could work together to send tangled particles to recipients in a variety of locations.



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