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Scientists Have Demonstrated Quantum Entanglement on a Tiny Satellite Orbiting Earth

One of the most fascinating phenomena in the weird world of quantum physics is quantum entanglement, or what Einstein dubbed "spooky action at a distance." Recently, it was successfully demonstrated once more by researchers, this time on a CubeSat spacecraft circling the Earth.

The phenomenon of quantum entanglement occurs when two particles connect irretrievably over a distance, with the result that one may be used to predict certain properties about the other. One day, a super-fast, super-secure quantum internet may be built on that impenetrable link.

Even if a quantum internet is still some time off, it will need more than just optical fibers to function.

Therefore, researchers are testing the effects of quantum entanglement in a variety of brand-new and enhanced methods, including in space.

In this instance, pairs of entangled photons were created using a blue laser diode and non-linear crystals on a tiny CubeSat spacecraft aptly named SpooQy-1.

the tool for measuring quantum entanglement. (National University of Singapore's Center for Quantum Technologies)

According to quantum physicist Aitor Villar of the National University of Singapore, "in the future, our device may be a component of a worldwide quantum network delivering quantum messages to listeners on Earth or on other spacecraft."

These signals might be used to construct any kind of quantum communications application, such as quantum teleportation, which transfers information by remotely simulating the state of a quantum system, or quantum key distribution for exceptionally secure data transmission.

It was accomplished using a piece of equipment that measured less than 20 cm by 10 cm (7.87 inches by 3.94 inches) and weighed less than 2.6 kilos, which makes it astounding on a number of levels (5.73 pounds).

SpooQy-1 is a smaller satellite than Micius, the Chinese spacecraft that has the distinction of managing quantum communication from space first. If we want to use satellites as the basis for future quantum communications, that compactness will be essential.

The CubeSat was launched from the International Space Station last year, but it was specifically created to protect the entangled photon source from the stresses and heat of both an Earth launch and an orbit above it.

At temperatures between 16 and 21.5 degrees Celsius, the photon pairs on board were entangled (60.8 degrees and 70.07 degrees Fahrenheit).

Additionally, the system was built to function using the least amount of electricity feasible. For academics examining whether a satellite-based quantum internet would be feasible, SpooQy-1's size, resilience, and low power drain are all noteworthy.

Although quantum communication with the satellite has not yet been tried, this lays the groundwork for it. Since normal optical fibers cannot be used to transport quantum-encoded information over extended distances, researchers are seeking alternate methods.

The team intends to work on a quantum receiver that can connect with a CubeSat satellite like this in the upcoming years, as well as to enhance CubeSat equipment's general capacity to support quantum networks.

The development of a space-based global quantum network is advancing quickly, according to Villar. We expect that the next generation of missions utilizing quantum technology in space will be motivated by our work and that our experimental results will be useful for developing new applications and technologies.

The research has been published in Optica.

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