That’s right! Hack proof communication, one of the new things thanks to Quantum-Entanglement! A Chinese satellite has been used to split pairs of entangled photons and transmit them to separate ground stations about 745 miles apart (1200 kilometers). Completely obliterating the previous record for quantum communications.
To know what quantum communications is you have to know a bit about quantum physics. In quantum physics, when some particles interact in certain ways they become something called “entangled”. Which means that when one of the particles is affected the other one is also affected, even across great distances.
Researches reported being able to distribute entangled photon pairs to two separate locations on Earth, separated by 747.5 miles (1203km). This is a pretty big thing in the world of quantum physics! We can now send encrypted messages from 1200 km away and be warned if someone intercepted it. Well, it’ll cost a lot, but at least now we know it’s possible!
In 2003 a professor of quantum physics by the name of, Pan Jianwei, started his work on a satellite based system that beamed down entangled photon pairs to ground stations. When photon pairs are exposed to the elements they get tampered with and become less reliable. So the idea was that because it spent most of it’s journey in space, it’d have less interference. Pan was quoted saying,
Many people then thought it was a crazy idea, because it was very challenging already doing the sophisticated quantum-optics experiments inside a well-shielded optical table. So how can you do similar experiments at thousand-kilometers distance scale and with the optical elements vibrating and moving at a speed of 8 kilometers per second 5 miles per second?
Let’s hear more about this on the next page!
As you can tell, sending entangled photon pairs from space was definitely the difficult part. In this new study though, the study group used China’s Micius satellite, which they launched a year ago, to transmit the entangled photon pairs. The satellite used a ultra bright entangled photon source and a high precision acquiring, pointing and tracking (APT) system to send the pairs of entangled photons down to each of the stations. Artur Ekert, a professer of quantum physics, was quoted saying,
The Chinese experiment is quite a remarkable technological achievement . When I proposed the entangled-based quantum key distribution back in 1991, I did not expect it to be elevated to such heights!
That’s right, you can send encrypted keys to people through quantum entanglement and it’ll be pretty much uncrack-able! Even if someone intercepted the key you’d know. When someone messes with the entanglement of two photons, it would alert the users almost immediately. This seems like it would be useful for military or government secrets.
This seems like a HUGE achievement for the world and I can’t wait for the research to continue. Right now it’s not possible to send reliable signals all the time because we are lacking in the required satellites. We will eventually have enough and the level of technology to send these types of messages, but until then further research is required.
I know that I for the ability to communicate like this! Make sure to check out some of our other articles while you’re here! Also why not check back every now and then for more!