In a push to support the wider Quantum technology industry, the US DOE (Department of Energy) has announced it is going to provide $25m towards a quantum internet which will go into research. The funds will push the development of a Quantum Internet and be used for basic research and to help design, develop and produce a quantum internet testbed at a regional scale or intra-city or inter-city level.
Developing a quantum internet backbone has the potential to interface with satellite links or with classical fibre optic networks. The Department of Energy has a variety of networks that could be plugged into such as university or national laboratory campus networks or the Energy Sciences Network (ESnet) that could lead to networking with other research establishments around the globe.
Maintaining entanglement – the quantum states required for quantum communication in quantum networks is a difficult challenge. Researchers are keen to exploit and scale up. Ideally resarchers want to create quantum versions of standard network devices that are used in the classical network, such as quantum repeaters, quantum memory, and special quantum communication protocols.
Preserving the fragile quantum states needed for effective quantum communication becomes ever more difficult as networks expand in size. The technological challenges to developing an operational quantum network of any scale therefore remain significant, including that of creating quantum versions of standard network devices, such as quantum repeaters, quantum memory, and special quantum communication protocols.
Applications will be open to all seventeen of the DOE laboratories, with awards selected competitively based on peer review with the funds to be allocated over five years. Total planned funding is up to $25 million over five years.