Sabato, 24 Giugno, 2017

China's Micius Mission Sets New Grounds in Quantum Science

Quantum satellite shatters entanglement record Quantum Internet Is One Step Closer
Messalina Adamo | 18 Giugno, 2017, 01:17

The tour de force experiment featured a device on the satellite beaming pairs of photons - individual particles of light - linked by a mysterious effect known as quantum entanglement to two separate receiving stations on Earth.

Entanglement involves putting objects in the peculiar limbo of quantum superposition, in which an object's quantum properties occupy multiple states at once: like Schrödinger's cat, dead and alive at the same time. This essentially means they remain connected even when separated by large distances, so that an action performed on one affects the other.

To prove the feasibility of satellite- and space-based distribution research, ground-based studies were done that demonstrated bidirectional distribution of entangled photon pairs through a two-link terrestrial free-space channel, over distances of 600 m, 13 km, and 102 km, with an ~80-dB effective channel loss. Entanglement plays an important role in quantum technologies such as quantum cryptography, quantum teleportation and networks for distributing quantum information. Any attempt to eavesdrop would disturb the particles and be discovered.

The optical equipment onboard the spacecraft distributes the particles of light to encrypt "keys" to secret messages, which can be separated upon receipt at the ground stations, the media outlets said. When traveling through air or over fiber-optic cables, the environment interferes with the particles, so with greater distances, the signal decays and becomes too weak to be useful.

Jian-Wei Pan, who led the research at the University of Science and Technology in Hefei in China, said the demonstration was a moment he had been dreaming of since 2003. They found the photons had opposite polarizations far more often than would be expected by chance, thus confirming spooky action over a record distance (though the 2015 test over a shorter distance was more stringent).

So, technologically, this is a huge step as Jürgen Volz, a physicist at the Vienna Center for Quantum Science and Technology told the LA Times.


A composite photo from December 2016 shows a link established between China's quantum satellite Micius and a ground station in the Tibet Autonomous Region. Not only were the particles entangled in space (scientists have never done this before), but they retained their freakish connection even after they'd been separated by a distance 10 times the previous record for what's called "quantum teleportation".

Scientists were absolutely floored by a groundbreaking discovery that could change our understanding of quantum physics.

.

The team was able to detect entangled photons at a rate of about one pair every second. "We have done something that was absolutely impossible without the satellite".

When photon pairs are entangled, it is possible to use the characteristics of one photon received at one station to determine the characteristics of the other even though there is no apparent physical connection between the two.

"It's a challenging task", says physicist Chao-Yang Lu, a professor at the University of Science and Technology of China, in a report by Wired.

"I'm personally convinced that the internet of the future will be based on these quantum principles". Scientists believe that this quantum entanglement is vital for secure communications, quantum computation and simulation, China's state-run Xinhua news agency reported. The accomplishment - which involved an orbiting satellite and two observatories in western China - has wide-ranging implications for the future of the Internet, encryption and telecommunications in general.

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