Last day of the Summer Science ExhibitionToday is the last day of the Summer Science Exhibition. Our scientists are waiting to meet you and answer your questions about how we can use quantum physics in information technology. Learn how qua....
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- Dixon, A.R. et al. 2010 Continuous operation of high bit rate quantum key distribution. Applied Physics Letters 96, 161102
- Nilsson, J. et al. 2013 Quantum teleportation using a light-emitting diode. Nature Photonics 7, 311-315
The quantum theory elaborated in the 20th century revolutionised the way we describe the world at the atomic scale. It told us that matter, light and indeed everything in the universe around us is made up of particles or “quanta”. Now, the recently developed ability to manipulate these individual particles is stimulating a technological revolution. A revolution in which the strange properties of quantum theory are applied directly to information technology - often with very powerful and surprising results.
How it works
Weird things happen when we encode information on individual particles. These are interesting not only as a test of quantum theory, but can bring us practical applications that are simply impossible using ‘ordinary’ IT. For example, it is possible to test directly the secrecy of information sent in a communication system using single photons (particles of light). This is because quantum theory dictates that any attempt to read the photons will cause a detectable disturbance to their encoding. This can be used to secure sensitive information such as credit card numbers and health records.
Quantum theory tells us that particles can also be ‘entangled’ and thereby share a spooky interconnection - even when separated by large distances. Quantum teleportation uses this property to send quantum signals from one location to another without its physical movement through space.
Quantum effects will also change the way we process information. A quantum computer works with bits that can be both “0” and “1” at the same time, and can therefore process all the possible solutions of a calculation simultaneously. This massive parallelism provides quantum computers with enormous number crunching power.
Quantum Revolution Game
Play Quantum Revolution, a space shooter game based on quantum physics.
Follow the instructions to install Unity web player (Windows or Mac OS X) if needed. You can play in full-screen mode by right-clicking in the game.