Furthermore, whereas the previous record for successful entanglement distribution was about 100 kilometers (km), here, transmission over a distance of more than 1,200 km was achieved. Micius, which is now used for experimental purposes and built with some of the most delicate components, is now circling the earth and transmitting to bases located in two mountains, separated 1,200km between them.
Quantum entanglement has interesting applications for testing the fundamental laws of physics, but also for creating exceptionally secure communication systems, scientists have said. "By developing an ultra-bright space-borne two-photon entanglement source and high-precision APT, the team established entanglement between two single photons separated by 1203 km, with an average two-photon count rate of 1.1Hz and state fidelity of 0.869±0.085". According to Pan, the lead physicist on the study, China's National SpaceScience Center will launch additional satellites with stronger and cleaner laser beams detectable even when the sun is shining.
It may have once been regarded as that "freaky kid" of the physics world, but quantum entanglement has literally come a long way from the days when Einstein laughed it off as "spooky action at a distance".
The 1,300 pound craft satellite is equipped with a laser beam, which the scientists subjected to a beam splitter.
The work obliterates the previous world record for sending pairs of photons that are connected to one another by a odd rule of quantum physics first spotted by Einstein. The photons successfully maintained their entangled state, despite the vast distance they needed to travel and were successfully received by the research team's ground station on Earth. Already, China has gained enough confidence to green-light more quantum communication satellites which will be tested over the next five years.
One way to overcome this issue is to break the line of transmission into smaller segments and repeatedly swap, purify and store quantum information along the optical fiber. But in order to do all that, you have to know you've stored the photons without actually measuring them.This is theoretically possible but the technology is too out of reach to be of any practical use in the near future.
The researchers sought to prove that particles can remain entangled across great distances - in this case, almost 750 miles. Physicists have entangled particles such as electrons and photons, as well as larger objects such as superconducting electric circuits.
When travelling through air and optical fibres, protons get scattered or absorbed, Nature explains, posing challenges to the preservation of the fragile quantum state. However they are much more stable in the near-vacuum conditions of space. The experiment, which was detailed in the latest edition of the journal Science, represented the first time that entangled photon pairs have been beamed to Earth from a satellite in orbit.
Just months into its mission, the world's first quantum-communications satellite has achieved one of its most ambitious goals. Previous attempts on the ground to carry out such transmissions were limited to a little over a hundred metres in distance.
Micius forms part of a wider Quantum Experiments at Space Scale (QESS) study. "They started with this bold idea and managed to do it", he was quoted by Science as saying.
"This is a scientific breakthrough", says Rupert Ursin, a quantum physicist at the Institute for Quantum Optics and Quantum Information in Vienna, Austria, who was not involved in the research.
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