The Chinese are inching closer to a hack-proof worldwide network of quantum communications, as they have successfully managed to protect transmitted data through a quantum satellite. A report on the milestone appeared this week in the journal Nature.
Quantum Experiments at Space Scale (QUESS) aka ‘Micius’ is the planet’s first functional quantum satellite. Lead scientist Pan Jianwei said Micius beamed data to several ground stations in north China’s Hebei Province and northwest China’s Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region. The distance between the quantum satellite and the station varied between 397 miles and t45 miles. The transmission rate was 20 percent more efficient than that of standard optical fiber across the same distance.
The distance between the quantum satellite and the stations varied between 397 miles and 745 miles. The transmission rate was 20 percent more efficient than that of standard optical fiber across the same distance.
Researchers were able to conduct the experiment during the 10-minute time frame in which the satellite flies over China. Researchers believe the new technology can help generate a completely safe phone call or transmission of sensitive data such as bank data.
Pan is confident quantum technology can be used to build quantum networks within cities and replace fiber networks that connect people over 62 miles. Scientists envisioned a ground-based quantum network paired to quantum satellites such as Micius for enhanced encryption.
Quantum Technology Can Make Communications Untraceable
Secure communications is an ideal that tech companies are striving for. Conventional key cryptography is often based on mathematical functions that are uncrackable with regular technology.
While a powerful quantum computer could crack traditional cryptography in no time and make anything on modern computers hackable, the same tech can be used to protect the data.
Quantum key cryptography can make wiretapping impossible and generate perfectly secure communications. The Chinese researchers explained that quantum keys, unlike traditional ones, are strings of random numbers that change their quantum state as soon as they’re intercepted.
If an eavesdropper tries to intercept the communication, his interference will create a disturbance in the system, which can be easily detected by the people communicating.
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