New Delhi: Earth to space experiments are taking place all over the world. With the race to reach the zenith getting more fierce by the second, innovative strategies to achieve the same are being deployed by space agencies around the world.
In the latest development, Chinese researchers have successfully teleported a photon from Earth to orbit.
The photon traveled all the way from Gobi desert to a satellite by the name of 'Micius', thereby orbiting 500 km in total.
The researchers owe their success to quantum entanglement, a process where two particles react as one with no physical connection between them.
As per the Deccan Chronicle, ‘Micius’ is described to be a highly sensitive photo receiver that is equipped with the ability to detect quantum states of single photons launched from the ground.
The satellite was developed with the aim to enable scientists to carry out tests that involved quantum entanglement, cryptography and teleportation.
“Long-distance teleportation has been recognized as a fundamental element in protocols such as large-scale quantum networks and distributed quantum computation,” says the Chinese team to MIT Technology Review. “Previous teleportation experiments between distant locations were limited to a distance on the order of 100 kilometers, due to photon loss in optical fibers or terrestrial free-space channels,” Deccan Chronicle reported.
Quantum teleportation could be harnessed to produce a new form of communication network, in which information would be encoded by the quantum states of entangled photons, rather than strings of 0s and 1s. The huge security advantage would be that it would be impossible for an eavesdropper to measure the photons’ states without disturbing them and revealing their presence.
According to the Guardian, Ian Walmsley, Hooke professor of experimental physics at Oxford University, said the latest work was an impressive step towards this ambition. “This palpably indicates that the field isn’t limited to scientists sitting in their labs thinking about weird things. Quantum phenomena actually have a utility and can really deliver some significant new technologies.”
The advantage of using a satellite is that the particles of light travel through space for much of their journey. Last month, the Chinese team demonstrated they could send entangled photons from space to Earth. The latest work does the reverse: they sent photons from the mountaintop base to the satellite as it passed directly overhead, the Guardian said.
At present, numerous similar quantum-enabled satellites are under development by a number of teams including the European Space Agency as well as Canadian scientists. However, the latest results suggest China is leading the way in this field.