Chi­nese sci­ence tele­ported into the lead in quan­tum race

China Daily (Canada) - - FRONT PAGE - ByBy ZHANGZHANG ZHIHAOZHIHAO in zhangzhi­hao@Bei­jing zhangzhi­hao@chi­nadaily.com.chi­nadaily.cn com.cn

China has be­come the first coun­try to send quan­tum keys — highly com­plex en­cryp­tions — from a satel­lite to a base on Earth, and to tele­port light par­ti­cles the other way.

The ac­com­plish­ments are two ma­jor break­throughs in the ef­fort to cre­ate an un­hack­able global com­mu­ni­ca­tions net­work.

The two ex­per­i­ments mark the com­ple­tion of the the sec­ond and third of the three main goals of Mi­cius, the world’s first quan­tum com­mu­ni­ca­tions satel­lite, which China launched last year.

The first goal, to send en­tan­gled light par­ti­cles fur­ther than ever be­fore, was achieved in June. En­tan­gle­ment is a phe­nom­e­non in which two or more par­ti­cles can af­fect each other si­mul­ta­ne­ously re­gard­less of dis­tance. En­tan­gled par­ti­cles can­not be de­scribed in­de­pen­dently of each other.

Bai Chunli, pres­i­dent of the Chi­nese Acad­emy of Sciences, said China is now the world leader in quan­tum com­mu­ni­ca­tion tech­nolo­gies and is work­ing with sci­en­tists from Aus­tria, Ger­many and Italy. He said Mi­cius will con­tinue to per­form ex­per­i­ments un­til its ex­pected ser­vice life ex­pires next year.

“The trio of quan­tum ex­per­i­ments will be cen­tral to any global space-based quan­tum in­ter­net,” Karl Ziemelis, chief phys­i­cal sci­ence editor at Na­ture mag­a­zine, said in a video in­ter­view. The mag­a­zine pub­lished two ar­ti­cles about China’s break­throughs on Thurs­day.

“They are tes­ta­ments to China’s in­vest­ment and sig­nif­i­cant ef­fort in phys­i­cal sciences … and pushed re­search in prac­ti­cal quan­tum com­mu­ni­ca­tion tech­nol­ogy to such astro­nom­i­cal heights.”

All pri­vate data, bank ac­counts to from so­cial me­dia pic­tures, are pro­tected by “keys”, which are ex­tremely com­plex math­e­mat­i­cal codes trans­mit­ted be­tween users and com­pa­nies. How­ever, these codes can be ex­ploited if a hacker “eaves­drops” on these keys dur­ing trans­mis­sion.

Quan­tum keys use quan­tum physics rather than math

PHO­TOS BY FAN PEIKUN / XINHUA AND FENG ZHENG / CHINA NEWS SER­VICE

Left: Tourists gather their be­long­ings at a ho­tel park­ing lot as they pre­pare to leave the moun­tain­ous earth­quake zone on Wed­nes­day. Right: Forces un­leashed by the earth­quake opened a large crack in the ex­press­way from Song­pan county to Ji­uzhaigou county.

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