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Quantum communication will make internet unhackable: Research

Purdue University research on quantum communication, supported by the U.S. Department of Energy can soon make internet communication hacking a thing of the past. 

Today, communication on the internet is susceptible to hacking at most times, but this could change soon with the advent of quantum internet. Quantum communications, which use photons to transmit data is almost impossible to crack than computer coding as is the case today. 

Increasing quantum bit rate by 100 fold
The challenge with quantum communication until now is that the technology is restricted by the amount of data that individual photons can transmit securely, also called 'secret bit rate'. However, researchers at Purdue University have created a new method that would increase the secret bit rate by 100 times, which is over 35 million photons per second. The more photons a light source can generate per second, the faster the rate of successful data transmission. 

"Increasing the bit rate allows us to use single photons for sending not just a sentence a second, but rather a relatively large piece of information with extreme security, like a megabyte-sized file," according to Simeon Bogdanov, researcher at Purdue University. 

Impossible to hack 
Researchers say that such a high bit rate would create an ultra-secure quantum internet, which will function as a network of channels called 'waiveguides'. The communication channels running through these quantum waiveguides will transmit single photons between electronic chips of internet devices, which will carry data that will be effectively unhackable. 

"No matter how computationally advanced a hacker is, it would be basically impossible by the laws of physics to interfere with these quantum communication channels without being detected, since at the quantum level, light and matter are so sensitive to disturbances," states Bogdanov. 

How researchers made the breakthrough?
In order to achieve faster and ultra-secure quantum communication, Purdue researchers modified the way in which a light pulse from a laser beam excites electrons in a man-made 'defect' or local disturbance in a crystal lattice of a small diamond, and how this defect emits one photon at a time. Next, the researchers will be adapting this system for on-chip circuitry. 

"We have demonstrated the brightest single-photon source at room temperature. Usually sources with comparable brightness only operate at very low temperatures, which is impractical for implementing on computer chips that we would use at room temperature,"  states Vlad Shalaev, another Purdue researcher.