Six Federal agencies have joined forces to establish the Washington Metropolitan Quantum Network Research Consortium (DC-QNet) to create, demonstrate, and operate a quantum network as a regional test bed.
The DC-QNEt is researching the use of quantum-entangled particles – also known as qubits – to transmit sensitive information. Quantum networks are an emerging research frontier and will one day offer the ability to distribute and share quantum information securely among quantum computers, clusters of quantum sensors, and related devices at regional and national distances.
The networks can also be used to distribute ultra-precise time signals, and offer the potential to enable the creation of new applications not yet imagined.
The six Federal agencies involved in the effort are the Army Combat Capabilities Development Command Army Research Laboratory, Naval Research Laboratory, Naval Observatory, National Institute of Standards and Technology, National Security Agency, and NASA.
“These agencies with world-class research capabilities will work to advance quantum network capabilities and leadership,” Gerald Borsuk, the DC-QNet executive director, said in a press release. “Quantum networks will be essential to modern secure communications and computing enhancements in the 21st Century.”
Consortium researchers are also studying other quantum behaviors and capabilities such as transduction – or the process of converting qubits from one form into another. Fully harnessing these capabilities for quantum networking will require state-of-the-art measurement science or metrology.
Toward that end, the DC-QNet will perform entanglement distribution of qubits at multi-kilometer distances over a well-characterized and controlled quantum network.
Additionally, the Naval Information Warfare Center Pacific and the Air Force Research Laboratory will participate in the project as out-of-region affiliates.