Teleporting information sets stage for ‘cyber secure’ communications

As the military continues to reconsider the security of the electromagnetic spectrum for battlefield data sharing, researchers at Army Research Laboratory have been experimenting with a new way to communicate information: teleportation.

ARL investigators recently demonstrated information teleportation through the use of entangled photons at their facilities in Adelphi, Md., according to an ARL press release.

While the idea of teleportation conveys a connotation of the Star Trek transporter, quantum information teleportation could more accurately be described as a type of communication. Through quantum entanglement, a quantum bit, a unit of quantum information, can be moved between two separate locations without an actual physical particle.

Quantum entanglement is when two or more particles cannot be described independently – the quantum state would be derived from the system as a whole. In order to teleport information, a photon carrying information would interact with one of the particles, teleporting information to the other entangled particle.

The ARL team, which includes ARL quantum information principal investigator Ronald Meyers and team member Keith Deacon, has developed a prototype information teleportation network system capable of quantifying information teleportation using eye-safe entangled photons. The new technology includes an information teleportation exfiltration testbed that is looking to move quantum images more securely.

Information teleportation could significantly improve the security of network communications, as current systems dependent on the electromagnetic spectrum are subject to hacking, eavesdropping, and jamming. The new method could allow soldiers behind enemy lines to securely teleport data or images to command posts through the use of handheld teleportation exfiltration devices, moving information between mobile assets at high speeds over long distances.

"The ARL teleportation achievements are expected to be the basis for new types of Army mobile information teleportation networks for battlefield enhanced situational awareness and security," said Meyers. "This research will benefit future Soldiers by helping provide the Army with battlefield information teleportation networks that will be both cyber secure and fast."

The new technology could also be capable of overcoming denied environments.

"The success in achieving quantum teleportation over long distances through an obscured battlefield is difficult, but future mobile ad-hoc information teleportation networks can give the future Army exponential advantages in cyber security, speed and bandwidth," Meyers noted.

Non-military researchers are also looking into quantum teleportation. Scientists in the Netherlands published a paper on Thursday – their findings indicated that they had been able to reliably teleport information between two quantum bits separated by ten feet. For future experiments, the researchers are seeking to teleport information across distances of more than a kilometer.

About the Author

Joey Cheng is an editorial fellow with Defense Systems.

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