Expanding the horizons of secure communication, Chinese scientists have successfully tested quantum entanglement over unparalleled distances using their experimental satellite launched last year.
The satellite had distributed entangled pair of photons to three different terrestrial base stations on ground each separated by 1,200 kilometres. With the test, China has established itself as the front-runner in the burgeoning race to create a quantum based unhackable communication network.
To dig deeper into the phenomenon of quantum entanglement, it is about two or more subatomic particles, also known as ‘twins’ being connected and reacting in a concurrent manner – even if they are on different sides of the universe.
This unique feature has been utilized to develop quantum communication, wherein quantum particles are used to send information securely over long distances, as anyone trying to observe or alter the data will disturb the delicate quantum properties – thus, revealing intrusion.
However, the technical challenges in transmitting entangled particles in real-world between two points with the present methodologies are formidable. These particles when transmitted through optical fibres or open air tend to be absorbed by the medium through which they are passing. This absorption eventually leads to breaking of the entanglement. On the other hand, the said particles shall retain their entangled state in near-vacuum conditions. Thus, to transmit quantum particles over hundreds and thousands of kilometres, scientists have decided to vacuum-up the space.
Throughout the experiment it was faced with many end of the road like scenarios, despite which it has proven to be a giant leap towards ushering in the era of ultra secure communication.