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Concept: Quantum entanglement


Quantum steering allows two parties to verify shared entanglement even if one measurement device is untrusted. A conclusive demonstration of steering through the violation of a steering inequality is of considerable fundamental interest and opens up applications in quantum communication. To date, all experimental tests with single-photon states have relied on post selection, allowing untrusted devices to cheat by hiding unfavourable events in losses. Here we close this ‘detection loophole’ by combining a highly efficient source of entangled photon pairs with superconducting transition-edge sensors. We achieve an unprecedented ∼62% conditional detection efficiency of entangled photons and violate a steering inequality with the minimal number of measurement settings by 48 s.d.s. Our results provide a clear path to practical applications of steering and to a photonic loophole-free Bell test.

Concepts: Photon, Quantum field theory, Local hidden variable theory, Bell's theorem, EPR paradox, Bell test experiments, Quantum entanglement, Quantum mechanics


The security of conventional cryptography systems is threatened in the forthcoming era of quantum computers. Quantum key distribution (QKD) features fundamentally proven security and offers a promising option for quantum-proof cryptography solution. Although prototype QKD systems over optical fiber have been demonstrated over the years, the key generation rates remain several orders of magnitude lower than current classical communication systems. In an effort toward a commercially viable QKD system with improved key generation rates, we developed a discrete-variable QKD system based on time-bin quantum photonic states that can generate provably secure cryptographic keys at megabit-per-second rates over metropolitan distances. We use high-dimensional quantum states that transmit more than one secret bit per received photon, alleviating detector saturation effects in the superconducting nanowire single-photon detectors used in our system that feature very high detection efficiency (of more than 70%) and low timing jitter (of less than 40 ps). Our system is constructed using commercial off-the-shelf components, and the adopted protocol can be readily extended to free-space quantum channels. The security analysis adopted to distill the keys ensures that the demonstrated protocol is robust against coherent attacks, finite-size effects, and a broad class of experimental imperfections identified in our system.

Concepts: Key, Quantum information science, RSA, One-time pad, Quantum entanglement, Quantum cryptography, Quantum mechanics, Cryptography


Realizing robust quantum information transfer between long-lived qubit registers is a key challenge for quantum information science and technology. Here we demonstrate unconditional teleportation of arbitrary quantum states between diamond spin qubits separated by 3 meters. We prepare the teleporter through photon-mediated heralded entanglement between two distant electron spins and subsequently encode the source qubit in a single nuclear spin. By realizing a fully deterministic Bell-state measurement combined with real-time feed-forward, quantum teleportation is achieved upon each attempt with an average state fidelity exceeding the classical limit. These results establish diamond spin qubits as a prime candidate for the realization of quantum networks for quantum communication and network-based quantum computing.

Concepts: Quantum computer, Quantum state, Quantum information, Quantum teleportation, Quantum entanglement, Quantum mechanics, Quantum information science, Qubit


Long-distance entanglement distribution is essential for both foundational tests of quantum physics and scalable quantum networks. Owing to channel loss, however, the previously achieved distance was limited to ~100 kilometers. Here we demonstrate satellite-based distribution of entangled photon pairs to two locations separated by 1203 kilometers on Earth, through two satellite-to-ground downlinks with a summed length varying from 1600 to 2400 kilometers. We observed a survival of two-photon entanglement and a violation of Bell inequality by 2.37 ± 0.09 under strict Einstein locality conditions. The obtained effective link efficiency is orders of magnitude higher than that of the direct bidirectional transmission of the two photons through telecommunication fibers.

Concepts: Bell's theorem, EPR paradox, Physics, Energy, Albert Einstein, Quantum entanglement, Photon, Quantum mechanics


Attempts at cloning a quantum system result in the introduction of imperfections in the state of the copies. This is a consequence of the no-cloning theorem, which is a fundamental law of quantum physics and the backbone of security for quantum communications. Although perfect copies are prohibited, a quantum state may be copied with maximal accuracy via various optimal cloning schemes. Optimal quantum cloning, which lies at the border of the physical limit imposed by the no-signaling theorem and the Heisenberg uncertainty principle, has been experimentally realized for low-dimensional photonic states. However, an increase in the dimensionality of quantum systems is greatly beneficial to quantum computation and communication protocols. Nonetheless, no experimental demonstration of optimal cloning machines has hitherto been shown for high-dimensional quantum systems. We perform optimal cloning of high-dimensional photonic states by means of the symmetrization method. We show the universality of our technique by conducting cloning of numerous arbitrary input states and fully characterize our cloning machine by performing quantum state tomography on cloned photons. In addition, a cloning attack on a Bennett and Brassard (BB84) quantum key distribution protocol is experimentally demonstrated to reveal the robustness of high-dimensional states in quantum cryptography.

Concepts: Quantum electrodynamics, Matrix mechanics, Werner Heisenberg, Quantum cryptography, Photon, Uncertainty principle, Quantum entanglement, Quantum mechanics


An arbitrary unknown quantum state cannot be precisely measured or perfectly replicated(1). However, quantum teleportation allows faithful transfer of unknown quantum states from one object to another over long distance(2), without physical travelling of the object itself. Long-distance teleportation has been recognized as a fundamental element in protocols such as large-scale quantum networks(3,4) and distributed quantum computation(5,6). However, the previous teleportation experiments between distant locations(7-12) were limited to a distance of the order of 100 kilometers, owing to photon loss in optical fibres or terrestrial free-space channels. An outstanding open challenge for a global-scale ‘quantum internet’(13) is to significantly extend the range for teleportation. A promising solution to this problem is exploiting satellite platform and space-based link, which can conveniently connect two remote points on the Earth with greatly reduced channel loss because most of the photons' propagation path is in empty space. Here we report the first quantum teleportation of independent single-photon qubits from a ground observatory to a low-Earth-orbit satellite-through an up-link channel-with a distance of up to 1,400 km. To optimize the link efficiency and overcome the atmospheric turbulence in the up-link, a series of techniques are developed, including a compact ultra-bright source of multi-photon entanglement, narrow beam divergence, high-bandwidth and high-accuracy acquiring, pointing and tracking (APT). We demonstrate successful quantum teleportation for six input states in mutually unbiased bases with an average fidelity of 0.80 ± 0.01, well above the classical limit(14). This work establishes the first ground-to-satellite up-link for faithful and ultra-long-distance quantum teleportation, an essential step towards global-scale quantum internet.

Concepts: Spin, Boson, Quantum state, Quantum field theory, Quantum mechanics, Qubit, Quantum entanglement, Photon


The pigeonhole principle: “If you put three pigeons in two pigeonholes, at least two of the pigeons end up in the same hole,” is an obvious yet fundamental principle of nature as it captures the very essence of counting. Here however we show that in quantum mechanics this is not true! We find instances when three quantum particles are put in two boxes, yet no two particles are in the same box. Furthermore, we show that the above “quantum pigeonhole principle” is only one of a host of related quantum effects, and points to a very interesting structure of quantum mechanics that was hitherto unnoticed. Our results shed new light on the very notions of separability and correlations in quantum mechanics and on the nature of interactions. It also presents a new role for entanglement, complementary to the usual one. Finally, interferometric experiments that illustrate our effects are proposed.

Concepts: Quantization, Classical mechanics, Condensed matter physics, Particle physics, Finite set, Quantum entanglement, Physics, Quantum mechanics


The quantum internet is predicted to be the next-generation information processing platform, promising secure communication and an exponential speed-up in distributed computation. The distribution of single qubits over large distances via quantum teleportation is a key ingredient for realizing such a global platform. By using quantum teleportation, unknown quantum states can be transferred over arbitrary distances to a party whose location is unknown. Since the first experimental demonstrations of quantum teleportation of independent external qubits, an internal qubit and squeezed states, researchers have progressively extended the communication distance. Usually this occurs without active feed-forward of the classical Bell-state measurement result, which is an essential ingredient in future applications such as communication between quantum computers. The benchmark for a global quantum internet is quantum teleportation of independent qubits over a free-space link whose attenuation corresponds to the path between a satellite and a ground station. Here we report such an experiment, using active feed-forward in real time. The experiment uses two free-space optical links, quantum and classical, over 143 kilometres between the two Canary Islands of La Palma and Tenerife. To achieve this, we combine advanced techniques involving a frequency-uncorrelated polarization-entangled photon pair source, ultra-low-noise single-photon detectors and entanglement-assisted clock synchronization. The average teleported state fidelity is well beyond the classical limit of two-thirds. Furthermore, we confirm the quality of the quantum teleportation procedure without feed-forward by complete quantum process tomography. Our experiment verifies the maturity and applicability of such technologies in real-world scenarios, in particular for future satellite-based quantum teleportation.

Concepts: Quantum computer, La Palma, Quantum entanglement, Quantum information science, Quantum teleportation, Canary Islands, Quantum mechanics, Qubit


More than 50 years ago, John Bell proved that no theory of nature that obeys locality and realism can reproduce all the predictions of quantum theory: in any local-realist theory, the correlations between outcomes of measurements on distant particles satisfy an inequality that can be violated if the particles are entangled. Numerous Bell inequality tests have been reported; however, all experiments reported so far required additional assumptions to obtain a contradiction with local realism, resulting in ‘loopholes’. Here we report a Bell experiment that is free of any such additional assumption and thus directly tests the principles underlying Bell’s inequality. We use an event-ready scheme that enables the generation of robust entanglement between distant electron spins (estimated state fidelity of 0.92 ± 0.03). Efficient spin read-out avoids the fair-sampling assumption (detection loophole), while the use of fast random-basis selection and spin read-out combined with a spatial separation of 1.3 kilometres ensure the required locality conditions. We performed 245 trials that tested the CHSH-Bell inequality S ≤ 2 and found S = 2.42 ± 0.20 (where S quantifies the correlation between measurement outcomes). A null-hypothesis test yields a probability of at most P = 0.039 that a local-realist model for space-like separated sites could produce data with a violation at least as large as we observe, even when allowing for memory in the devices. Our data hence imply statistically significant rejection of the local-realist null hypothesis. This conclusion may be further consolidated in future experiments; for instance, reaching a value of P = 0.001 would require approximately 700 trials for an observed S = 2.4. With improvements, our experiment could be used for testing less-conventional theories, and for implementing device-independent quantum-secure communication and randomness certification.

Concepts: Bell test experiments, Statistics, Theory, EPR paradox, Scientific method, Hypothesis, Quantum entanglement, Quantum mechanics


There are both fundamental and practical motivations for studying whether quantum entanglement can exist in macroscopic systems. However, multiparty entanglement is generally fragile and difficult to quantify. Dicke states are multiparty entangled states where a single excitation is delocalized over many systems. Building on previous work on quantum memories for photons, we create a Dicke state in a solid by storing a single photon in a crystal that contains many large atomic ensembles with distinct resonance frequencies. The photon is re-emitted at a well-defined time due to an interference effect analogous to multi-slit diffraction. We derive a lower bound for the number of entangled ensembles based on the contrast of the interference and the single-photon character of the input, and we experimentally demonstrate entanglement between over two hundred ensembles, each containing a billion atoms. We also illustrate the fact that each individual ensemble contains further entanglement.Multipartite entanglement is of both fundamental and practical interest, but is notoriously difficult to witness and characterise. Here, Zarkeshian et al. demonstrate multipartite entanglement in an atomic frequency comb storing a single photon in a Dicke state spread over a macroscopic ensemble.

Concepts: Electron, Quantum state, Photon, Uncertainty principle, Fundamental physics concepts, Quantum entanglement, Atom, Quantum mechanics