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.

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 August 29, 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 August 29, 2014).

Share This




More Computers & Math News

Friday, August 29, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

JPMorgan Chase Confirms Possible Cyber Attack

JPMorgan Chase Confirms Possible Cyber Attack

Reuters - US Online Video (Aug. 28, 2014) Attackers stole checking and savings account information and lots of other data from JPMorgan Chase, according to the New York Times. Other banks are believed to be victims as well. Fred Katayama reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Spend 2 Minutes Watching This Smartwatch Roundup

Spend 2 Minutes Watching This Smartwatch Roundup

Newsy (Aug. 28, 2014) LG announces a round-faced smartwatch, Samsung adds 3G connectivity to its latest wearable, and Apple will reportedly announce the iWatch on Sept. 9. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Why Apple Might Add Mobile Payment Options To iPhone 6

Why Apple Might Add Mobile Payment Options To iPhone 6

Newsy (Aug. 28, 2014) A report by Wired suggests Apple's next iPhone will feature a mobile payment system and near-field communication. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Hackerspace Provides Hackers Creative Haven

Hackerspace Provides Hackers Creative Haven

AP (Aug. 27, 2014) HeatSync Labs, a so-called hackerspace in Mesa, Arizona provides members and the public alike a space to allow their creative juices to flow and make their tech dreams into a reality. (Aug 27) Video provided by AP
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:
from the past week

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