By demonstrating that an artificial atom embedded in a transmission line can route a single photon from an input port to one of two output ports, physicists have built the first router working at the single-photon level. The single-photon router could one day serve as a quantum node in a quantum information network, in which it could provide basic processing and routing of data.
As the scientists explain, controlling and directing photons is more difficult than controlling and directing electrons, which are used in most of today’s routers.
Well done physicists! This is one more step in the Star Trek timeline when Dr. Noonien Soong will be able to create Data's Positronic brain, which features a storage capacity of 100 Pb (800 quadrillion bits) and a total linear computational speed of 60 THz (60 trillion operations per second)! Until then, we can look forward to photon-based Cisco routers with glorious light-speed Internet surfing.