Scientists Create 'Building Block' of Quantum Networks

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Presenting the device February 8, in the Institute of Physics and German Physical Society's New Journal of Physics, it has been described as the "building block of future quantum networks."

In an optical quantum network, information is carried between points by photons -- the basic unit of light. There is a huge potential for this type of network in the field of quantum computing and could enable computers that are millions of times faster at solving certain problems than what we are used to today.

This new device, which combines a single nitrogen-vacancy centre in diamond with an optical resonator and an optical waveguide, could potentially become the memory or the processing element of such a network. A nitrogen-vacancy centre is a defect in the lattice structure of diamond where one of the carbon atoms is replaced by a nitrogen atom and the nearest neighbour carbon atom is missing. The nitrogen-vacancy centre has the property of photoluminescence, whereby a substance absorbs photons from a source and then subsequently emits photons.