News Worms
News Worms

'Spooky' quantum entanglement achieved in space

'Spooky' quantum entanglement achieved in space

The distance between Delingha and Lijiang is 1,203 kilometers, which marks a record-setting stretch over which the entangled photon pairs were transmitted.

Late past year, the satellite, which orbits at a height between 500 and 2,000 kilometres above Earth, directed beams of entangled photon pairs at telescopes up to 1,203 kilometres apart between Delingha in Qinghai and Gaomeigu Observatory in Lijiang. "Another immediate application is to exploit distributed entanglement to perform a variant of quantum teleportation protocol for remote preparation and control of quantum states", said the Academy.

Quantum entanglement is an eccentric phenomenon which takes place when two or more particles bond together and affect each other in an instant, despite of how distant they are; a fact that was formerly mocked by Einstein. The advantage of using a satellite is that the particles of light travel through space for much of their journey.

Seth Lloyd, director of the Center for Extreme Quantum Information Theory at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, called the latest research "a true breakthrough" in the technology of entanglement distribution.

The 1,300 pound craft satellite is equipped with a laser beam, which the scientists subjected to a beam splitter. Already, China has gained enough confidence to green-light more quantum communication satellites which will be tested over the next five years.

One way to improve particle distribution is to break the transmission line into smaller sections, and then swap, purify, and store the quantum information along the optical fibre. So even if they intercepted the key and the message, both would be useless. Quantum entanglement is an extremely interesting feature of physics where two or more entangled particles - often called "twins" - will react in a correlated manner even when separated by huge distances, and when only one of the particles is directly receiving a stimuli.

"When I had the idea of doing this in 2003, many people thought it was a insane idea", Pan told the BBC World Service "Because it was very challenging already doing the sophisticated quantum optics experiments in a lab - so how can you do a similar experiment at a thousand-kilometre distance and with optical elements moving at a speed of 8km/s?"

When travelling through air and optical fibres, protons get scattered or absorbed, Nature explains, posing challenges to the preservation of the fragile quantum state. The main advantage of this approach is that most of the photons' transmission path is nearly in vacuum, with nearly zero absorption and de-coherence.

A group of scientists at the University of Science and Technology of China in Shanghai successfully integrated quantum entanglement into a rocket that was launched into space. It is all part of a push towards a new kind of internet that would be far more secure than the one we use now. But researchers at the ground stations are able to detect only about one pair per second.

And, they will attempt to "teleport" quantum states, according to Nature, meaning the quantum state of the photo will be rebuilt in a new location.

Dr. Jennewein has always been working toward a Canadian ground-to-space version of the experiment, and last fall demonstrated that a system he built at Waterloo's Institute for Quantum Computing was able to establish a link with a passing aircraft. "They started with this bold idea and managed to do it", he was quoted by Science as saying.

American and European research teams are considering sending quantum based equipment to the International Space Station to test whether changing gravitational fields can change entanglement.


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