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A team of researchers from QuTech in the Netherlands reports realization of the first multi-node quantum network, connecting three quantum processors. In addition, they achieved a proof-of-principle demonstration of key quantum network protocols. Their findings mark an important milestone toward the future quantum internet and have now been published in Science.

The power of the is that it allows any two computers on Earth to connect. Today, researchers in many labs around the world are working toward first versions of a quantum internet—a network that can connect any two , such as quantum computers or sensors, over large distances. Whereas today's internet distributes information in bits that can be either 0 or 1, a future quantum internet will make use of quantum bits that can be 0 and 1 at the same time.

"A quantum internet will open up a range of novel applications, from unhackable communication and cloud computing with complete user privacy to high-precision time-keeping," says Matteo Pompili, Ph.D. student and a member of the research team. "And like with the internet 40 years ago, there are probably many applications we cannot foresee right now."

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