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Quantum communication holds promise for unconditionally secure transmission of secret messages and faithful transfer of unknown quantum states. Photons appear to be the medium of choice for quantum communication. Owing to photon losses, robust quantum communication over long lossy channels requires quantum repeaters. It is widely believed that a necessary and highly demanding requirement for quantum repeaters is the existence of matter quantum memories. Here we show that such a requirement is, in fact, unnecessary by introducing the concept of all-photonic quantum repeaters based on flying qubits. In particular, we present a protocol based on photonic cluster-state machine guns and a loss-tolerant measurement equipped with local high-speed active feedforwards. We show that, with such all-photonic quantum repeaters, the communication efficiency scales polynomially with the channel distance. Our result paves a new route towards quantum repeaters with efficient single-photon sources rather than matter quantum memories.

Twin-field (TF) quantum key distribution (QKD) was conjectured to beat the private capacity of a point-to-point QKD link by using single-photon interference in a central measuring station. This remarkable conjecture has recently triggered an intense research activity to prove its security. Here, we introduce a TF-type QKD protocol which is conceptually simpler than the original proposal. It relies on the pre-selection of a global phase, instead of the post-selection of a global phase, which significantly simplifies its security analysis and is arguably less demanding experimentally. We demonstrate that the secure key rate of our protocol has a square-root improvement over the point-to-point private capacity, as conjectured by the original TF QKD.

Most quantum communication tasks need to rely on the transmission of quantum signals over long distances. Unfortunately, transmission of such signals is most often limited by losses in the channel, the same issue that affects classical communication. Simple signal amplification provides an elegant solution for the classical world, but this is not possible in the quantum world, as the no-cloning theorem forbids such an operation and, thus, an alternative approach, a quantum repeater, is needed. Quantum repeaters enable one to create a known maximally entangled state between the end points of the network by first segmenting the network into pieces, creating entanglement between the segments, and then, connecting those entanglement to create the required long range entanglement. Quantum teleportation then allows an unknown quantum message to be transmitted between them using the long-range entangled state. This form of quantum communication will be at the heart of the future quantum Internet. In this review, we will detail various approaches to quantum repeaters, and discuss their expected performance and limitations.

Recent field demonstrations of quantum key distribution (QKD) networks hold promise for unconditionally secure communication. However, owing to loss in optical fibres, the length of point-to-point links is limited to a hundred kilometers, restricting the QKD networks to intracity. A natural way to expand the QKD network in a secure manner is to connect it to another one in a different city with quantum repeaters. But, this solution is overengineered unless such a backbone connection is intercontinental. Here we present a QKD protocol that could supersede even quantum repeaters for connecting QKD networks in different cities below 800 km distant. Nonetheless, in contrast to quantum repeaters, this protocol uses only a single intermediate node with optical devices, requiring neither quantum memories nor quantum error correction. Our all-photonic ‘intercity' QKD protocol bridges large gaps between the conventional intracity QKD networks and the future intercontinental quantum repeaters, conceptually and technologically.

The quantum internet holds promise for achieving quantum communication—such as quantum teleportation and quantum key distribution (QKD)—freely between any clients all over the globe, as well as for the simulation of the evolution of quantum many-body systems. The most primitive function of the quantum internet is to provide quantum entanglement or a secret key to two points efficiently, by using intermediate nodes connected by optical channels with each other. Here we derive a fundamental rate-loss trade-off for a quantum internet protocol, by generalizing the Takeoka–Guha–Wilde bound to be applicable to any network topology. This trade-off has essentially no scaling gap with the quantum communication efficiencies of protocols known to be indispensable to long-distance quantum communication, such as intercity QKD and quantum repeaters. Our result—putting a practical but general limitation on the quantum internet—enables us to grasp the potential of the future quantum internet.

We introduce a simple photonic probing scheme of remote nondestructive parity measurement (RNPM) on a pair of matter qubits. The protocol works as a single module for key operations such as entanglement generation, Bell measurement, and parity check measurement, which are sufficient not only for building up a quantum repeater but also for equipping it with entanglement distillation. Moreover, the RNPM protocol can also be used for generating cluster states toward measurement-based quantum computation.

We propose a realistic protocol to generate entanglement between quantum memories at neighboring nodes in hybrid quantum repeaters. Generated entanglement includes only one type of error, which enables efficient entanglement distillation. In contrast to the known protocols with such a property, our protocol with ideal detectors achieves the theoretical limit of the success probability and the fidelity to a Bell state, promising higher efficiencies in the repeaters. We also show that the advantage of our protocol remains even with realistic threshold detectors.Comment: 4 pages, 2 figure

We provide a versatile upper bound on the number of maximally entangled qubits, or private bits, shared by two parties via a generic adaptive communication protocol over a quantum network when the use of classical communication is not restricted. Although our result follows the idea of Azuma et al (2016 Nat. Commun. 7 13523) of splitting the network into two parts, our approach relaxes their strong restriction, consisting of the use of a single entanglement measure in the quantification of the maximum amount of entanglement generated by the channels. In particular, in our bound the measure can be chosen on a channel-by-channel basis, in order to make it as tight as possible. This enables us to apply the relative entropy of entanglement, which often gives a state-of-the-art upper bound, on every Choi-simulable channel in the network, even when the other channels do not satisfy this property. We also develop tools to compute, or bound, the max-relative entropy of entanglement for channels that are invariant under phase rotations. In particular, we present an analytical formula for the max-relative entropy of entanglement of the qubit amplitude damping channel. IntroductionWhenever two parties, say Alice and Bob, want to communicate by using a quantum channel, its noise unavoidably limits their communication efficiency [1]. In the limit of many channel uses, their asymptotic optimal performance can be quantified by the channel capacity, which represents the supremum of the number of qubits/bits that can be faithfully transmitted per channel use. Obtaining an exact expression for this quantity is typically far from trivial. Indeed, in addition to the difficulty of studying the asymptotic behaviour of the channel, the value of the capacity also depends on the task Alice and Bob want to perform, as well as on the free resources available to them [1]. Two representative tasks, which will be considered in our paper, involve the generation and distribution of a string of shared private bits (pbits) [2,3] or of maximally entangled states (ebits) [4]. These are known to be fundamental resources for more complex protocols, such as secure classsical communication [5,6], quantum teleportation [7], and quantum state merging [8]. An example of free resource involves the possibility of exchanging classical information over a public classical channel, such as a telephone line or over the internet. Depending on the restrictions on this, the capacity is said to be assisted by zero, forward, backward, or two-way classical communication [1]. In this paper we will focus on the last option, that is, no restriction will be imposed on the use of classical communication.Although the capacity of a quantum channel is by definition an abstract and theoretical quantity, it is also practically useful in that it can be compared with the performance of known transmission schemes. This comparison could then give an indication on the extent of improvements that could be expected in the future. From this perspective, similar conclusions could be obt...

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