(ORDO NEWS) — In the field of quantum physics, quantum entanglement – what Einstein called the “frightening action at a distance” – stands out as one of the most intriguing phenomena. And now, scientists have just been able to successfully demonstrate this again, this time aboard the CubeSat satellite orbiting the Earth.
Quantum entanglement – when two particles are inextricably linked at a distance, so that one serves as an indicator of the other in a certain aspect. This inextricable link may one day become the basis of ultrafast, ultra-secure quantum Internet.
Thus, scientists are experimenting with quantum entanglement in all kinds of new and improved ways – including in space.
In this case, the small CubeSat satellite, respectively called SpooQy-1, was used to obtain pairs of entangled photons using a blue laser diode and nonlinear crystals.
“In the future, our system may become part of a global quantum network that transmits quantum signals to receivers on Earth or on other spacecraft,” says quantum physicist Aitor Villar of Singapore National University.
“These signals can be used to implement any type of quantum communication application, from quantum key distribution for extremely secure data transmission to quantum teleportation, where information is transmitted by replicating the state of a quantum system at a distance.”
The achievement is impressive: this happened not only in real space, but also on equipment smaller than 20 cm by 10 cm and weighing less than 2.6 kg.
CubeSat was launched last year from the International Space Station, and was specifically designed to protect an intricate source of photons from the pressure and temperature of launch from Earth, as well as from the orbit around it.
The photon pairs on board were entangled at a temperature of 16 to 21.5 degrees Celsius.
In addition, the system was designed to operate with minimal energy consumption. The size, reliability and low power consumption of SpooQy-1 are all noteworthy for scientists researching whether satellite-based quantum Internet is possible.
In the next couple of years, the team hopes to work on a quantum receiver that can exchange data with the CubeSat satellite, thus improving the overall ability of CubeSat devices to support quantum networks.
“Moving toward a space-based global quantum network is moving fast,” says Villar. “We hope that our work will inspire us to the next wave of space missions in the field of quantum technologies and that new applications and technologies can benefit from our experimental results.”
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