New record in quantum communication with satellites



The security of data transmissions is extremely important; quantum mechanics provides a secure way of transmitting data using so-called quantum entanglement. For the first time, quantum communication at a distance of more than 7,000 km was carried out between China and Austria using the Chinese satellite Micius.

How secure is data transmission over the Internet? Can we use the credit card to buy a ticket or to pay a hotel without risking problems? Can a skilled hacker steal our identity and clear our bank account? Moreover, the security of a country, as well as many of the daily activities, depend on how secure the data transmission protocols are.

Most of these protocols are based on methods that use prime numbers and are considered to be relatively safe. However, we can not be certain that no one will be able to decipher these protocols, followed by data theft or, more seriously, falsifying them with targets of cyber terrorism.

In this context, a new method, based on quantum physics, is becoming more and more powerful.

The quantum property underlying these technologies is typical of particle or photon systems that were born together or interacted and are called quantum inseparability. Quantum-related particles have common properties at any distance. Virtually these particles behave like a single system, not as separate particles. If one operation is performed on one of the particles, the other "feels" instantly what happened to it. While physicists working in fundamental physics are trying to understand this property better, as well as other quantum phenomena such as overlapping states, other scientists have proposed using these properties to develop new technologies: the so-called quantum technologies among which instead of honesty includes quantum communications.

In this situation, pairs of quantum-correlated particles (such as photons) are generated, which are sent in two directions; operating on one of the particles, the other "feels" instantly what happened; In this way it is possible to convey the information from one place to another, achieving quantum communication. As soon as a hacker attempts to "steal" the information he has transmitted, he would find it immediately because it destroys the properties of the quantum systems used to communicate.

If quantum protocols are theoretically relatively well understood, the use of quantum key distribution (QKD) quantum keys is difficult to achieve because of technical problems, of particle pairs, since any interaction with the environment, such as air molecules, can destroy this extremely fragile property, and no quantum communication is made.

In this context, the recent record of a group of researchers in China and Austria is remarkable. They were able to communicate with a quantum protocol at a distance of about 7,600 km between Graz and Xinglong. The results of the experiment were recently published in an article in Physical Review Letters.

To achieve this performance, scientists used the Chinese satellite Micius, launched on August 17, 2016, in an orbit at an altitude of 500 km. With the help of a laser, pairs of photons correlated between Graz and Xinglong were transmitted and managed to communicate in a secure way, impossible to intercept.

Fascinating quantum properties, quantum correlation and state overlap are the basis of both quantum protocols and quantum and quantum teleports. These technologies will revolutionize the world we live in and will have at least the same impact as the current technologies: from computers to virtual reality, from intercontinental conversations to computer games and artificial intelligence.

The world of the future will most likely be a world in which quantum technologies will play a very important role.
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