Physical Review A, 100, 052303 (2019)
Major obstacles against efficient long-distance quantum communication are photon losses during transmission and the probabilistic nature of Bell measurement causing exponential scaling in time and resource with distance. To overcome these difficulties, while conventional quantum repeaters require matter-based operations with long-lived quantum memories, recent proposals have employed encoded multiple photons in entanglement, providing an alternative way for scalability. In pursuing scalable quantum communications, naturally arising questions are thus whether any ultimate limit exists in all-optical scalability and whether and how it can be achieved. Motivated by these questions, we derive the fundamental limits of the efficiency and loss tolerance of the Bell measurement with multiple photons, restricted not by protocols but by the laws of physics, i.e., linear optics and no-cloning theorem. We then propose a Bell measurement scheme with linear optics, which enables one to reach both the fundamental limits: one by linear optics and the other by the no-cloning theorem. The quantum repeater based on our scheme allows one to achieve fast and efficient quantum communication over arbitrary long distances, outperforming previous all-photonic and matter-based protocols. Our work provides a fundamental building block for quantum networks within but toward the ultimate limits of all-optical scalability.