Nanotechnology Now

Our NanoNews Digest Sponsors

Heifer International

Wikipedia Affiliate Button

Home > Press > Space race under way to create quantum satellite

Abstract:
In this month's special edition of Physics World, focusing on quantum physics, Thomas Jennewein and Brendon Higgins from the Institute for Quantum Computing at the University of Waterloo, Canada, describe how a quantum space race is under way to create the world's first global quantum-communication network.

Space race under way to create quantum satellite

London, UK | Posted on March 1st, 2013

The field of quantum communication - the science of transmitting quantum states from one place to another - has received significant attention in the last few years owing to the discovery of quantum cryptography.

Quantum cryptography exploits a unique property of single particles, such as photons: they can exist in two separate states - such as vertically polarized or horizontally polarized - or something in-between, known as a quantum superposition. Upon measuring the state of a particle you instantly change this state, meaning an encryption key made of photons can be passed between two parties safe in the knowledge that if an eavesdropper intercepts it, this would be noticed.

Quantum cryptography has been described as a way of creating "unbreakable" messages and has attracted the attention of major technology companies, governments, banks and other security-focused clients.

The transmission of encryption keys over long distances still remains a significant challenge for scientists, however, as the intensity of signals tends to weaken as they travel further because photons get absorbed or scattered off molecules.

Up until now, the furthest that quantum-communication signals have been sent is a few hundred kilometres, which would realistically enable communication between just one or two cities.

There is one place, however, where scattering doesn't appear to happen - empty space. Jennewein and Higgins lead just one of several teams around the world looking to take advantage of this by pursuing the concept of a quantum satellite.

A signal travelling from a ground station on Earth to a satellite would spend most of its time in the empty vacuum of space - rather than in Earth's atmosphere, which is crowded with gas molecules - so the signal would travel a lot further without weakening.

A satellite orbiting at around 32000 km above Earth would act as a kind of relay between two ground stations in a way that allows them to establish a secure link by sharing an encryption key made of photons.

In addition to the basic mass and power of the satellite itself, the team led by Jennewein and Higgins has been studying the overall design features of the satellite and ground stations and has emphasized the need for them both to be precisely aligned so they can be certain that what they are measuring correctly corresponds to the photons that are prepared.

"With the prospect of global-scale quantum communications and fundamental quantum science within new, unexplored regimes, the next few years are sure to be exciting," Jennewein and Higgins write.

Also in this issue:

- In praise of weakness - How "weak measurements" are transforming our understanding of the quantum world
- Nature's quantum subways - Could quantum tunnelling be the cause of mutations in our DNA?
- A calculated effort - How ultracold atoms are edging us towards Feynman's dream of a universal quantum simulator

####

About Institute of Physics
The Institute of Physics is a leading scientific society. We are a charitable organization with a worldwide membership of more than 45,000, working together to advance physics education, research and application.

We engage with policy-makers and the general public to develop awareness and understanding of the value of physics and, through IOP Publishing, we are world leaders in professional scientific communications.

About Physics World

Physics World is the international monthly magazine published by the Institute of Physics. For further information or details of its editorial programme, please contact the editor, Dr Matin Durrani, tel +44 (0)117 930 1002. The magazine's website physicsworld.com is updated regularly and contains daily physics news and regular audio and video content. Visit http://physicsworld.com .

For more information, please click here

Contacts:
Michael Bishop

+44 (0)11 7930 1032

Copyright © Institute of Physics

If you have a comment, please Contact us.

Issuers of news releases, not 7th Wave, Inc. or Nanotechnology Now, are solely responsible for the accuracy of the content.

Bookmark:
Delicious Digg Newsvine Google Yahoo Reddit Magnoliacom Furl Facebook

Related News Press

News and information

Researchers find new way to control light with electric fields May 25th, 2017

Nanometrics Announces Retirement Plans of CEO Timothy Stultz: Dr. Stultz to Continue as Director May 25th, 2017

Nanomechanics, Inc. to Exhibit at the SEM Conference: Nanoindentation experts will attend and exhibit their instruments at the Conference and Exposition on Experimental and Applied Mechanics in Indianapolis May 25th, 2017

Three-dimensional graphene: Experiment at BESSY II shows that optical properties are tuneable May 24th, 2017

Physics

Ultracold atom waves may shed light on rogue ocean killers: Rice quantum experiments probe underlying physics of rogue ocean waves April 27th, 2017

Geoffrey Beach: Drawn to explore magnetism: Materials researcher is working on the magnetic memory of the future April 25th, 2017

NIST physicists show ion pairs perform enhanced 'spooky action' March 30th, 2017

Breakthrough with a chain of gold atoms: In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport February 20th, 2017

Research reveals novel quantum state in strange insulating materials February 14th, 2017

Law enforcement/Anti-Counterfeiting/Security/Loss prevention

Leti Announces Backside Shield that Protects Microchips from Physical Attacks March 8th, 2017

NUS engineers develop low-cost, flexible terahertz radiation source for fast, non-invasive screening: Novel invention presents promising applications in spectroscopy, safety surveillance, cancer diagnosis, imaging and communication February 1st, 2017

Announcements

Researchers find new way to control light with electric fields May 25th, 2017

Nanometrics Announces Retirement Plans of CEO Timothy Stultz: Dr. Stultz to Continue as Director May 25th, 2017

Nanomechanics, Inc. to Exhibit at the SEM Conference: Nanoindentation experts will attend and exhibit their instruments at the Conference and Exposition on Experimental and Applied Mechanics in Indianapolis May 25th, 2017

Three-dimensional graphene: Experiment at BESSY II shows that optical properties are tuneable May 24th, 2017

Aerospace/Space

Space energy technology restored to make power stations more efficient: Scientists use graphene to reinvent abandoned heat energy converter technology March 7th, 2017

Applied Graphene Materials plc - Significant commercial progress in AGM’s three core sectors March 3rd, 2017

Triboelectric Nanogenerators Boost Mass Spectrometry Performance March 1st, 2017

EmTech Asia breaks new barriers with potential applications of space exploration with NASA and MIT February 22nd, 2017

Quantum nanoscience

The speed limit for intra-chip communications in microprocessors of the future January 23rd, 2017

First experimental proof of a 70 year old physics theory: First observation of magnetic phase transition in 2-D materials, as predicted by the Nobel winner Onsager in 1943 January 6th, 2017

Quantum simulation technique yields topological soliton state in SSH model January 3rd, 2017

Diamonds are technologists' best friends: Researchers from the Lomonosov Moscow State University have grown needle- and thread-like diamonds and studied their useful properties December 30th, 2016

NanoNews-Digest
The latest news from around the world, FREE



  Premium Products
NanoNews-Custom
Only the news you want to read!
 Learn More
NanoTech-Transfer
University Technology Transfer & Patents
 Learn More
NanoStrategies
Full-service, expert consulting
 Learn More











ASP
Nanotechnology Now Featured Books




NNN

The Hunger Project