Science: The Year in Technology

Society | December 27, 2002, Friday // 00:00

2002 saw technological developments that promise to keep computer systems more secure. In May, the first ever commercial quantum encryption device was unveiled by Swiss company id Quantique. By exploiting the quantum properties of photons to transmit information, quantum cryptography can deliver unbreakable encryption keys. In October, researchers at the UK's defence research agency QinetiQ demonstrated the same trick through thin air, firing a stream of quantum bits 23 kilometres between mountain tops. Efforts to develop a quantum computer capable of unprecedented computational speed were also given a boost in November, when a team of Australian researchers developed a simple quantum information processing device. In the same month Austrian researchers demonstrated the first quantum calculation involving a single trapped calcium ion.

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