The Quantum Internet Is Emerging, One Experiment at a Time

Quantum physicists want to build quantum networks sporting full-blown quantumness, where information is created, stored, and moved around in ways that mirror the bizarre behavior of the quantum world.

Although a fully realized quantum network is still a far-off vision, recent breakthroughs in transmitting, storing, and manipulating quantum information have convinced some physicists that a simple proof-of-principle is imminent.

From defects in diamonds and crystals that help photons change color, to drones that serve as spooky network nodes, researchers are using a smorgasbord of exotic materials and techniques in this quantum quest. The first stage, many say, would be a quantum network using standard optical fiber to connect at least three small quantum devices about 50 to 100 kilometers apart.

Such a network may be built in the next five years, according to Ben Lanyon of the Institute for Quantum Optics and Quantum Information in Innsbruck, Austria.

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