China to boost quantum research in space

Three Chinese astronauts will have the opportunity to study” novel quantum phenomena ,” according to state media, when China announced the successful docking of its Shenzhou-16 spacecraft and Tiangong-3 space station on Tuesday.

There were no more specifics after that trailer. The news sparked annoyance because classical is the subject that some true experts in China’s space program are most serious about. & nbsp,

Fortunately, there is enough open-source data available to allow for the creation of a progress report. This report begins by noting that, in contrast to four years ago, China now conducts its primary particle research using specific satellites as opposed to space stations. & nbsp,

Since it was launched & nbsp, into small orbit( 500 meters above sea level) in August 2016, the nation’s existing Micius dish, a quantum laboratory, has already been recognized for its scientific accomplishments.

Micius will then carry out international tests with nations like Russia, Italy, Sweden, and South Africa.

Last July, China safely launched Jinan-1, a low-orbit particle dish. In the upcoming ages, it intends to establish a channel – to high Earth orbit and satellite as well as several smaller and low orbit ones. & nbsp,

If all of these tests are successful, China will be able to use quantum key distribution( QKD ), an encryption technology, to transmit unhackable data and offer pertinent services to banks and government customers.

Pan Jianwei, a teacher of physics at the University of Science and Technology of China, stated in an opening speech on May 10 that” we are currently developing the first method – to higher circle classical satellite, which is planned to launch around 2026.”

The classical satellite does offer a new system for classical precision measurement( or quantum time ), Pan said, in addition to testing QKD. With this, it is possible to realize quantum entanglement transmission over a distance of more than 10,000 kilometers.

Classical interaction is a phenomenon that explains how, despite being very much apart, two photons may be linked to one another and maintain the same polarization state. One of them & nbsp’s states will change, and the other will follow suit. Such a trend can be used to transmit files using encryption.

Because it is based on the principles of quantum technicians, this kind of crypto cannot be cracked. Standard public key cryptography relies on mathematical operations that can be decrypted by supercomputers or quantum computers and is used by banks and governments to safeguard data communications.

In simple terms:

  • Two photons are sent to two locations while maintaining their position as part of the quantum entanglement distribution.
  • To ensure that no hackers is taking place, QKD is sending a beam along one data transfer network while keeping another. & nbsp,
  • Information about the state of a beam is sent via classical levitation.

from concept to application

Erwin Schrödinger, an Austrian scientist who won the 1933 Nobel Prize in Physics, first proposed the theory of quantum entanglement. The second QKD process, known as BB84, was created in 1984 by technicians Charles Bennett and Gilles Brassard. It uses a 1, 550 nm laser source to emit polarized visual pulses.

The concept of classical teleportation, which is crucial to some quantum information protocols and a significant potential mechanism for creating gates inside quantum computers, was pioneered in 1998 by Hungarian physicist Anton Zeilinger. & nbsp,

Zeilinger won the Nobel Prize for Physics last month along with French mathematician Alain Aspect, British physicsist John Clauser, and others. He served as Pan’s scientific advisor and nbsp, who earned his doctorate in 1999 from the University of Vienna in Austria.

Pan went back to China in 2001. His staff set a record for classical teleportation in 2009 by traveling over 16 km, which was unprecedented at the time. Pan oversaw the launch of the Micius dish in 2016 as part of China’s Quantum Science Experimental Satellite job. The satellite carried out a number of quantum experiments in 2017 while using the BB84 laser and & nbsp to send signals to the ground. & nbsp,

Pan Jianwei, a renowned Chinese classical professor. CGTN image

” Overcoming the current challenges faced by quantum satellites is necessary in order to realize global quantum communication ,” Pan said. ” The entire world may be covered by a single low-orbit dish.” Additionally, recent satellites may only transmit signals in clear skies at night.

He claimed that the issues could be resolved by placing more satellites in low orbit to cover a larger area on the ground, and connecting them with larger satellite in medium – to great range.

Elon Musk’s Starlink satellites, in contrast, are currently flying in small circle, 550 km above water level. A level of 20, 000 km above ocean level is referred to as a medium range, where GPS and China’s Beidou satellites are in operation. Standard satellites that transmit communications and broadcast signals are suitable for large orbit or geostationary orbit, which is located about 36, 000 km above sea level.

Tiangong’s demise – 2

When China’s Tiangong – 2 storage place was launched into small – range in September 2016, Pan put his plan of setting up a QKD satellite system into action. Between 2018 and 2019, the space station collaborated with the Micius dish and sent QKD impulses to the floor.

However, the tests came to an end in July 2019 when Tiangong-2 made a controlled return to Earth and burned up over the South Pacific Ocean. In 2022, China had originally intended to incorporate Tiangong – 2 and – 3.

Information about the classical research carried out by Tiangong – 2 wasn’t made public until past August.

In an interview that was published last August, CAS Academician Wang Jianyu stated that” The Micius satellite is only a starting point.” To cover all of the world’s atomic communication networks, we should construct a network of satellites in small, medium, and large orbits.

We have advanced by at least five years compared to other international and nbsp players at the moment. We may lead the world by at least 10 years if we can successfully establish a channel – to high particle satellite, according to Wang.

According to Liao & nbsp, Sheng-Kai, a professor at the University of Science and Technology of China( USTC ), the Micius satellite weighs 640 kg with an 80 kg QKD emitter, while Jinan-1’s total weight is 98 kg. He claimed that the size lowering is significantly lower research costs.

While China is investing more in quantum technology, northern companies prefer to remain on the ground because they believe that if QKD can eventually be transmitted via materials, satellite transmission will be relatively impractical and China may lose its business bet.

An encryption startup in the UK called Arqit & nbsp, Quantum Inc. announced the launch of two QKD satellites in 2023. However, a Wall Street Journal article from April of last year claimed that the & nbsp, company may have exaggerated its prospects.

As it would depend on its QuantumCloud to offer customers encryption solutions, Arqit announced in December that it was abandoning its plan to launch classical satellites and nbsp.

Bob and Alice

From Alice to Bob, two fictional characters who stand in for the sender and the receiver in classical communication, QKD is typically carried out on the ground using visual materials. However, transmission reduction significantly reduces the transmission range. & nbsp,

In a report released by the regular scientific journal Physical Review Letters on May 25, Pan and some Chinese scientists reported that they had found optical fibers that were 1, 002 km long-distance QKD.

The QKD distribution range of 833 kilometres was surpassed by experts from Toshiba’s Cambridge Research Laboratory in October 2021 by a group led by Chinese professor Guo Guangcan in January of last year.

A 2, 000 km-long classical fiber community connecting Beijing, Jinan, Hefei, and Shanghai was already built in China in September 2017. According to researchers, as a result of the rising demand for crypto companies from banks and government clients, Western nations, Japan, and the United States have built and are expanding their personal QKD sites.

Read: China is leading the race for classical technology.

At & nbsp, @ jeffpao3 is Jeff Pao’s Twitter account.