Fiber optics has made communication faster than ever, but the next step involves a quantum leap -- literally. In order to improve the security of the transfer of information, scientists are working on how to translate electrical quantum states to optical quantum states in a way that would enable ultrafast, quantum-encrypted communications.
A UC Santa Barbara research team has demonstrated the first and arguably most challenging step in the process. The paper, published in Nature Physics, describes a nanomechanical transducer that provides strong and coherent coupling between microwave signals and optical photons. In other words, the transducer is an effective conduit for translating electrical signals (microwaves) into light (photons).