As quantum information is carried by these entangled particles, the length of time the entanglement is sustained affects the distance that the information can travel.
Quantum communication systems do this using direct optical-fiber connections, which are rather limited because the way that fibers absorb light can disrupt the entanglement needed to carry quantum information.
Building a quantum internet, which is essentially a network of quantum entangled routers linked by fiber that can store quantum information, requires a function of routers that can store and send entangled particles.
In order for the machine to store quantum information, the silicon beams needed to vibrate at a precise frequency. In short, what they’ve built is essentially a working quantum router – a device that could be crucial in realising a quantum internet.
“Combining our results with optomechanical devices capable of transferring quantum information from the optical to the microwave domain could provide a backbone for a future quantum internet using superconducting quantum computers,” Riedinger and his colleagues wrote.
Just like how quantum computers would change our problem-solving abilities, a quantum internet is expected to completely revolutionise communication.