Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Space race underway to create quantum satellite

Date:
March 1, 2013
Source:
Institute of Physics (IOP)
Summary:
A new article describes how a quantum space race is under way to create the world's first global quantum-communication network.

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.

Related Articles


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.

Physics World is available online at: http://physicsworld.com


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Institute of Physics (IOP). Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Institute of Physics (IOP). "Space race underway to create quantum satellite." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 1 March 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/02/130228194653.htm>.
Institute of Physics (IOP). (2013, March 1). Space race underway to create quantum satellite. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 24, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/02/130228194653.htm
Institute of Physics (IOP). "Space race underway to create quantum satellite." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/02/130228194653.htm (accessed October 24, 2014).

Share This



More Computers & Math News

Friday, October 24, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Real-Life Transformer Robot Walks, Then Folds Into a Car

Real-Life Transformer Robot Walks, Then Folds Into a Car

Buzz60 (Oct. 24, 2014) — Brave Robotics and Asratec teamed with original Transformers toy company Tomy to create a functional 5-foot-tall humanoid robot that can march and fold itself into a 3-foot-long sports car. Jen Markham has the story. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
Microsoft Riding High On Strong Surface, Cloud Performance

Microsoft Riding High On Strong Surface, Cloud Performance

Newsy (Oct. 24, 2014) — Microsoft's Q3 earnings showed its tablets and cloud services are really hitting their stride. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
The Best Apps to Organize Your Life

The Best Apps to Organize Your Life

Buzz60 (Oct. 23, 2014) — Need help organizing your bills, schedules and other things? Ko Im (@konakafe) has the best apps to help you stay on top of it all! Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
Nike And Apple Team Up To Create Wearable ... Something

Nike And Apple Team Up To Create Wearable ... Something

Newsy (Oct. 23, 2014) — For those looking for wearable tech that's significantly less nerdy than Google Glass, Nike CEO Mark Parker says don't worry, It's on the way. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Space & Time

Matter & Energy

Computers & Math

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins