Viability of quantum communication at interstellar distances

(ORDO NEWS) — Quantum communication is considered a fast and secure form of information transfer.

According to a research team led by physicists Arjun Berera and Jaime Calderon-Figueroa of the University of Edinburgh, quantum communication is also possible at interstellar distances.

Qubits are prone to failure

Quantum communication uses qubits. Like ordinary bits, qubits can also take on the state 0 or 1. They are not in one state or the other, but in both at the same time (superposition).

However, qubits are prone to failure and are not perfect in superposition.

In interstellar communication, they would theoretically interact with other objects or gas and dust, and could lose their state.

So the two physicists wondered what type of photons and in what energy state should be used for unhindered interstellar communication.

Less density, less noise

In the X-ray spectrum, emitted qubits can travel hundreds of thousands of light-years while maintaining their superposition, according to results published in the journal Physical Review D. This is more than the diameter of the entire Milky Way.

One reason for this is that the density of matter in space is, on average, much lower than on Earth. This “emptiness”, in turn, means less interference.

Viability of quantum communication at interstellar distances 2

Communication with aliens

Since the researchers also suggest that extraterrestrial civilizations use a higher form of communication, we could also exchange information in this way with hypothetical aliens living at a distance of, say, a thousand light years from Earth.

However, information will not be transmitted faster than the speed of light, even with the help of quanta. Therefore, it would take a long time to wait for an answer, a very long time.

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