Several laboratories on the planet have embarked on the race for quantum computers. It is believed that there are certain problems that these machines can solve in much less time than a human lifetime, which would not be the case with conventional computers using algorithms based on performing calculations at the help from theclassic.
But thewith phenomena like the superposition of quantum states and the with some the bit-generalization of classical information theory dating back to the work of engineer and mathematician Claude Shannon, in principle allows some kinds of sometimes very fast parallel computations.
More generally, laboratories have embarked on a race for quantum information technologies which it is hoped will lead to awith tremendous computing power, record data transfer capabilities, of information as well as means of communication with unprecedented security guarantees.
For this, we will combine techniques of teleportation andbased on the famous EPR effect theoretically discovered in 1935 by and his collaborators Podolsky and Rosen and whose study has been renewed by the work of and Alain Aspect.
Discover in animation-video the history of quantum physics: from the ultraviolet catastrophe to the promises of the quantum computer, passing through the first and the second quantum revolution. A video animation co-produced with L’Esprit Sorcier. © CEA Research
From quantum entanglement to cryptography
The EPR effect is based on the entanglement of two quantum systems as they say in their jargonit can be a pair of or a pair of atoms for example. By measuring certain characteristics of one of these quantum systems, the second sees instantaneously, or at least more quickly than at the its state affected by the first measurement to the extent that the results of the measurements on the second system depend on it.
This effect can be used to transfer a coded message as well as the key ofof this message.
Currently, therelies on the ability to factorize a very large integer into a product of two , also very long. This is an impossible task for a classical computer to perform for the duration of a human life, but it would be very fast with a quantum computer containing a very large number of qubits, as was shown with his quantum algorithm, in 1994, a researcher in applied mathematics Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Peter Shor. It cannot be put into practice yet and that is why a product of an integer is what lies behind the famous .
But if one day we can use Shor’s discovery, then we will need another cryptographic technique ensuring secrecy, banking or not. A breakthrough in this direction has been achieved by theoretical physicists from the CEA at the Institute of Theoretical Physics (CEA/CNRS/Paris-Saclay University) together with their colleagues in Switzerland (University of Geneva, Ecoles polytechniques de Lausanne and Zurich). and in Great Britain (University of Oxford) who brought the experimental demonstration of a quantum distribution of cryptographic keys which could replace the encryption of the.
Today, with the advent of our connected world, cryptography is present everywhere: when we telephone, when we surf the Internet, when we make an online purchase, when we open the doors of our cars. But what is cryptography? When did this encoding of messages appear? What is the current research? Video answers with Renaud Sirdey, research director at the CEA, specialized in cryptography. This video is taken from the video game The Quantum Prisoner. Play for free at: https://prisonnier-quantique.fr/ © CEA Research
Entangled polarized photons and an avatar of the E91 protocol
As explained in a press release from the CEA about this progress, which is set out in an article byeverything is based on cryptographic “keys” made up of sequences of which must be shared only by the sender and the receiver. It is in fact a concrete realization with pairs of of entangled, each being trapped in a and cooled by from an idea inspired by the of encryption called E91, due to Artur Ekert, and proposed in 1991 by this Polish-British physicist currently Professor of quantum physics at the Institute of Mathematics of the University of Oxford.
This is an example of quantum key distribution (Quantum Key Distribution or QKD, in English) and in the present case a very selective laser excitation makes it possible to produce an entanglement between each of the two strontium ions and a polarized photon. Randomly polarized photons illustrating the EPR effect being measured are precisely at the heart of the E91 protocol.
In practice, it is possible to make measurements on entangled photons which can be verified to produce results where the values violate the. We can in this way ensure that an encryption key transfer has not been intercepted, retransmitted in the form of photons not entangled with the ions, and therefore that the message that we will then send will remain inviolate, that whether or not one knows how the message is encoded.
The CEA press release states that “ the researchers now plan to adapt their concept to an all-optical quantum key distribution prototype, which could be carried out by French teams exclusively, thanks to grants from the National Plan for Quantum Technologies” and adds that ” of thecan then seize it to offer ultra-secure communications exchanging highly confidential data (diplomacy, health, etc.) ».
Capsule produced for the show What has become of the discoveries of yesteryear, broadcast on Canal Savoir. This excerpt traces the evolution of a discovery by Gilles Brassard (University of Montreal) and Claude Crépeau (McGill University), selected among the 10 discoveries of 1993 by Québec Science : quantum teleportation. © Quebec Research Fund