Hacker attacks on everything from social media accounts to government files could be largely prevented by the advent of quantum communication, which would use particles of light called “photons” to secure information rather than a crackable code.
Using light to send information is a game of probability: Transmitting one bit of information can take multiple attempts. The more photons a light source can generate per second, the faster the rate of successful information transmission.
“A source might generate a lot of photons per second, but only a few of them may actually be used to transmit information, which strongly limits the speed of quantum communication,” Bogdanov said.
For faster 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, and then how this defect emits one photon at a time.