Chinese researchers teleport photons from Earth to space


A team of Chinese researchers has successfully teleported photons from Earth to an orbiting satellite in space using a process called quantum entanglement.

This is the first teleportation experiment to be tested so far in space and could pave way towards creating a quantum internet that cannot be hacked, reported The Guardian.

The scientists beamed millions of photons from a ground station in Ngari, Tibet, to China’s low-orbiting Micius satellite for 32 days and were successful in more than 900 cases. The satellite is orbiting more than 500m above Earth.

Quantum entanglement is a phenomenon wherein the properties of one particle get transferred to another, even if they are separated by distance.

“This work establishes the first ground-to-satellite up-link for faithful and ultra-long-distance quantum teleportation, an essential step toward global-scale quantum internet.”

The Chinese team was quoted by MIT Technology Review as saying: “We report the first quantum teleportation of independent single-photon qubits from a ground observatory to a low Earth orbit satellite, through an up-link channel, with a distance up to 1,400km.”

As the pairs of particles share a single quantum state, any change in one particle is bound to affect the other, irrespective of the distance.

The scientists measured the photons to ensure that entanglement has taken place as it is a fragile process given that matter in the atmosphere can disrupt the entanglement.

Teleportation experiments were previously limited to a distance of 100km, but this is the first time it has been experimented with such a long distance.

Scientists will be able to use the information between the two entangled particles. Quantum teleportation could be used for internet network, which will see information being encoded in entangled photons in their quantum state instead of 0s and 1s.

Last year, Micius was launched onboard a Long March 2D rocket from Jiuquan Satellite Launch Centre in Gobi Desert, China.

This satellite can detect the quantum state of photons beamed from the ground.

The Chinese team added: “This work establishes the first ground-to-satellite up-link for faithful and ultra-long-distance quantum teleportation, an essential step toward global-scale quantum internet.”