‘Push the limits’: China to create world’s first quantum info teleport in 2016

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A group of Chinese scientists plans to create a quantum space communications system for the first time ever by launching a satellite that could facilitate quantum teleportation of photons between earth and space this June.

The aim of the new experiment conducted by a team led by physicist Pan Jian-Wei from the University of Science and Technology of China in Hefei is to see if the quantum property of entanglement extends over record-breaking distances of more than 1,000 kilometers.

This could potentially facilitate super-fast, long-range communications, as well as lead to the creation of unbreakable quantum communication networks.

The team also wants to use the world’s first quantum satellite to find out if it is possible to teleport information securely between Earth and space using entangled photons. The launch of the satellite is scheduled for June, the international weekly of science Nature reports.

“In principle, quantum entanglement can exist for any distance. But we want to see if there is some physical limit… we hope to build some sort of macroscopic system in which we can show that the quantum phenomena can still exist,” Pan told Nature, in describing the theoretical premises for the experiment.

The satellite’s first mission would involve establishing a cryptographic communication line between Beijing and Vienna by creating “[the encoding and sharing of a secret cryptographic key using the quantum properties of photons] between a ground station in Beijing and the satellite, and between the satellite and Vienna.”

Scientists then plan to conduct satellite entangled photon quantum teleportation between stations located in the Chinese cities of Delingha and Lijiang or Nanshan, which are separated by more than 1,200 kilometers. The team has already conducted successful tests at a distance of 100 kilometers.

According to Pan, the technology is based on beaming one photon from an entangled pair to a distant location and then teleporting the quantum state of a third photon using the entangled photon as a conduit.

Pan already won a major national Chinese science prize (worth 200,000 yuan, or $ 30,000) earlier in January for the breakthrough research in quantum physics that facilitated the launch of the experiment involving the first quantum satellite.

In the future, Pan also hopes to create a signal transmitting system that could facilitate communication between the Earth and the Moon.

“In the future, we also want to see if it is possible to distribute entanglement between Earth and the Moon. We hope to use the [China’s Moon program] to send a quantum satellite to one of the gravitationally-stable points in the Earth-Moon system,” he told the weekly.

The team’s future plans also include making use of China’s future space station, Tiangong, which is expected to be created by the end of the decade, to conduct “upgraded” quantum experiments.

“I think China has an obligation not just to do something for ourselves — many other countries have been to the Moon, have done manned spaceflight — but to explore something unknown,” Pen said.

The scientist also predicted that the world will soon enter a quantum era with a revolution in quantum physics taking the world by storm and leading to the creation of super-fast quantum computers and large quantum communication networks, China’s People’s Daily reported.