Thanks to some help from the Micius satellite, a team of Chinese scientists reported that they achieved a successful ‘quantum teleportation’ in space. It was made possible with entangled protons, which helped recreate a photon’s properties on Earth in another one up in orbit.
The latest achievement in quantum teleportation in space comes from researchers part of the University of Science and Technology of China.
Quantum Teleportation, Not an Actual Teleportation
Despite its name, quantum teleportation involves no actual teleportation and is seemingly not that exotic. Reports state that it is a routinely used method in laboratories here on Earth. It is useful in transmitting information about a particle.
Ji-Gang Ren and his colleagues state that they achieved:
“the first quantum teleportation of independent single-photon qubits from a ground observatory to a low Earth orbit satellite—through an up-link channel – with a distance up to 1,400 km”.
The scientists accomplished this feat thanks to Micius. This is a satellite launched in August 2016 by China. Its purpose is to help test communication methods based on quantum mechanics, ones that also involve considerable distances. Micius returned its first results last month, as scientists were successful in “entangling” particles.
Entanglement is a property naturally noted in particles that appeared at the same time and which exist in a shared state. More precisely, an action affecting just one of the particles will still have an effect on its pair. This feature was noted to still hold even if great distances separate the particles.
Quantum teleportation copies the first particle’s exact quantum state. Then, this is used to transmit the quantum bits, qubits, utilized in quantum computation.
The Chinese scientists achieved an incredible engineering achievement as they managed to recreate this connection with a distant body. A connection with the fast moving satellite requires precision and sensitivity.
The team behind this achievement is now looking towards what might come next. Namely, there are looking to determine the future uses of this technology, ones which number, among others, a potential “global-scale quantum internet”.
A paper with the results of the experiment and its possible uses was released in the preprint server Arxiv.
Image Source: Wikimedia