Chinese researchers have successfully teleported a photon from Gobi desert in Asia to a satellite orbiting five hundred kilometres above the earth. Achieved through quantum entanglement, this could pave the way for a global quantum internet. As per a report in the MIT Technology Review, the Chinese team had launched a satellite called Micius last year. Named after an ancient Chinese philosopher, the highly sensitive photon receiver satellite was placed in a Sun-synchronous orbit so that it passes over the same point on Earth at the same time each day.
The team created the first satellite-to-ground quantum network, in the process smashing the record for the longest distance over which entanglement has been measured. And they’ve used this quantum network to teleport the first object from the ground to orbit, the report said.
This is the first time that any object has been teleported from Earth to orbit, and it smashes the record for the longest distance for entanglement. “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 1400 km,” the Chinese team told MIT Technology Review.
This has set stage for more ambitious goals in the future. “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 report quoted the team.
The breakthrough now puts scientists a major step closer to developing an ultra-secure global internet. According to a report in the Daily Mail, over the course of the two-year mission, the researchers in China will conduct a Bell test to prove the existence of entanglement at such a great distance. And, they will attempt to ‘teleport’ quantum states, according to Nature, meaning the quantum state of the photon will be rebuilt in a new location. This experiment would attempt to create a reliable and efficient means for teleportation. By achieving quantum teleportation, the researchers say they could create a telescope with an enormous resolution, the report said.