An international team of scientists from Malta, Austria, and Italy, has demonstrated a new kind of telecommunications link that cannot be broken into.
The team used entanglement, a property of quantum mechanics, specialised devices developed at the Austrian Academy of Sciences, and Melita’s international network.
They entangled two particles of light (photons), keeping one in Malta and sending the other to Sicily. These photons can then create the same secret number in two places without having been sent from one place to another. This secret number can then be used to share information safely.
The findings of this research, which have been published by the prestigious journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the US, represent an important step forward in cybersecurity and pave the way for quantum communications to be used routinely in Malta and internationally.
This new technology can keep information safe using the laws of the universe itself and is utterly unbreakable.
In their experiment, the team showed how the Melita telecommunications link between Malta and Sicily can be used to share entanglement between the two countries.
This was the longest distance over which entanglement has been shared through a telecommunications network outside of a laboratory environment. It was also the first time that entanglement was distributed using an international submarine optical fibre cable.
According to quantum physicist Prof. André Xuereb, who led the work in Malta, this kind of technology will soon be protecting our most important data.
This project received funding from the University of Malta Research, Innovation and Development Trust (RIDT).