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Researchers bounce polarized photons off satellites to show feasibility of space based quantum communications

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Posted July 1, 2014
Researchers bounce polarized photons off satellites to show feasibility of space based quantum communications
Scheme of the Satellite QKD demonstration. Qubit pulses are sent at 100 Mhz repetition rate and are reflected back at the single photon level from the satellite, thus mimicking a QKD source on Space. Synchronization is performed by using the bright SLR pulses at repetition rate of 10 Hz. Credit: arXiv:1406.4051 [quant-ph]

A team of researchers working at the University of Padua in Italy has bounced polarized photons off of four in-flight satellites to show that quantum communications between such satellites and ground based stations is possible. The team has uploaded a paper they’ve written to the preprint server arXiv, describing their work and what it might mean for future quantum transmissions through space.

Scientists have figured out how to send quantum communications through fiber cables, but only for short distances as the  tend to be absorbed by the glass at some point. Other scientists have successfully sent quantum communications directly through the air, but again only for short distances (the record is 144 kilometers) because of interference. In this latest experiment, the team in Italy bounced photons off satellites to show that quantum communications between ground based stations and satellites should be possible.

Read more at: Phys.org

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