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CHINA LAUNCHES FIRST-EVER QUANTUM COMMUNICATION SATELLITE


AUGUST 16 -In this photo released by China’s Xinhua News Agency, a Long March-2D rocket carrying the world’s first quantum satellite lifts off from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in Jiuquan, northwestern China’s Gansu Province, early Tuesday, Aug. 16, 2016. Experts say China’s launch of the first quantum satellite will push forward the worldwide effort to develop the ability to send communications that are impenetrable by hackers. AP  The China Daily/Asia News Network August 16th, 2016 12:04 PM - China launched the world’s first quantum-enabled satellite in the early morning hours of Tuesday, marking the first step in building a space-based quantum communications network that is virtually un-crackable. The 631-kg satellite, which is named after the ancient Chinese philosopher and scientist Micius, lifted off at 1:40 am atop a Long March 2D rocket from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in northwestern China. It will operate 500 km above the Earth’s surface for at least two years.It is the third in a row of the Chinese Academy of Sciences’ space science satellite firsts, following the Dark Matter Particle Explorer satellite that will help scientists deepen their understanding of the past and future of galaxies and the universe and Shijian 10, which carried out a series of experiments in microgravity in space for physical and life sciences, according to the academy.Research has shown that it is practically impossible to crack, intercept or wiretap quantum communications because its physical traits mean it cannot be replicated, separated nor reverse engineered. Any attempt to interfere with its transmissions will leave a mark, disrupt the communication and result in parties involved being warned.In addition to China, researchers in Austria, Germany, Singapore, Britain, Canada and Italy are also developing quantum-enabled communications technologies, they said. READ MORE...

ALSO: China Launches World’s First “Hack-Proof” Quantum-Communications Satellite


AUGUST 21 -photo credit: VISHAL TOMAR/flickr (CC BY 2.0)
Harnessing the mysterious workings of quantum entanglement. On Monday (August 15), China launched the world’s first-ever quantum satellite, dubbed the Quantum Experiments at Space Scale (QUESS) spacecraft, in efforts to establish a “hack-proof” communications system. QUESS launched from a Long March-2D rocket at the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in Gobi Desert, according to the Chinese news agency Xinhua. The satellite weighs in at 1,320 pounds (600 kilograms), and is programmed to complete one lap around Earth every 90 minutes, at an altitude of about 310 miles (500 kilometers). According to Xinhua, QUESS is designed to establish a “hack-proof” quantum communications system by transmitting keys from space to the ground that can’t be cracked. Researchers hope the two-year mission will also provide new insights into quantum entanglement — one of the strangest phenomena in quantum physics. DON'T MISS: Quantum Entanglement Could Be Used to Control the Atoms That Emit Light Quantum entanglement describes “entangled” particles that are curiously linked to each other, even though the particles may be separated by millions of miles of space. If one of the particles goes through a change, it somehow affects the entangled particle as well. READ MORE...

ALSO: Scientists Designed a Prototype Chip to Make Quantum Computing Practical


AUGUST 9 -prototype chip -photo credit: © GraphicCompressor / Fotolia
With built-in optics, it traps ions in an electric field and directs laser light toward each of them. Quantum computers are largely hypothetical devices that could perform some calculations much more rapidly than conventional computers can. Instead of the bits of classical computation, which can represent 0 or 1, quantum computers consist of quantum bits, or qubits, which can, in some sense, represent 0 and 1 simultaneously. Although quantum systems with as many as 12 qubits have been demonstrated in the lab, building quantum computers complex enough to perform useful computations will require miniaturizing qubit technology, much the way the miniaturization of transistors enabled modern computers. SEE ALSO: Researchers Achieved Record-Breaking Logic Gate Required to Build Quantum Computers Trapped ions are probably the most widely studied qubit technology, but they've historically required a large and complex hardware apparatus. In today's Nature Nanotechnology, researchers from MIT and MIT Lincoln Laboratory report an important step toward practical quantum computers, with a paper describing a prototype chip that can trap ions in an electric field and, with built-in optics, direct laser light toward each of them. READ MORE...


READ FULL MEDIA REPORTS HERE:

China launches first-ever quantum communication satellite


In this photo released by China’s Xinhua News Agency, a Long March-2D rocket carrying the world’s first quantum satellite lifts off from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in Jiuquan, northwestern China’s Gansu Province, early Tuesday, Aug. 16, 2016. Experts say China’s launch of the first quantum satellite will push forward the worldwide effort to develop the ability to send communications that are impenetrable by hackers. AP

GANZU PROVINCE, CHINA, AUGUST 22, 2016 (INQUIRER)  The China Daily/Asia News Network August 16th, 2016 12:04 PM - China launched the world’s first quantum-enabled satellite in the early morning hours of Tuesday, marking the first step in building a space-based quantum communications network that is virtually un-crackable.

The 631-kg satellite, which is named after the ancient Chinese philosopher and scientist Micius, lifted off at 1:40 am atop a Long March 2D rocket from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in northwestern China. It will operate 500 km above the Earth’s surface for at least two years.

It is the third in a row of the Chinese Academy of Sciences’ space science satellite firsts, following the Dark Matter Particle Explorer satellite that will help scientists deepen their understanding of the past and future of galaxies and the universe and Shijian 10, which carried out a series of experiments in microgravity in space for physical and life sciences, according to the academy.

Research has shown that it is practically impossible to crack, intercept or wiretap quantum communications because its physical traits mean it cannot be replicated, separated nor reverse engineered. Any attempt to interfere with its transmissions will leave a mark, disrupt the communication and result in parties involved being warned.

In addition to China, researchers in Austria, Germany, Singapore, Britain, Canada and Italy are also developing quantum-enabled communications technologies, they said.

READ MORE...

READ: China: Satellite to protect sea bases

Expected to change human communication

The satellite, Quantum Experiments at Space Scale (QUESS), will circle the Earth once every 90 minutes after it enters a sun-synchronous orbit at an altitude of 500 kilometers.

It is nicknamed “Micius,” after a fifth century BC Chinese philosopher and scientist who has been credited as the first one in human history conducting optical experiments.

In its two-year mission, QUESS is designed to establish “hack-proof” quantum communications by transmitting uncrackable keys from space to the ground, and provide insights into the strangest phenomenon in quantum physics — quantum entanglement.

Quantum communication boasts ultra-high security as a quantum photon can neither be separated nor duplicated. It is hence impossible to wiretap, intercept or crack the information transmitted through it.

With the help of the new satellite, scientists will be able to test quantum key distribution between the satellite and ground stations, and conduct secure quantum communications between Beijing and Xinjiang’s Urumqi.

QUESS, as planned, will also beam entangled photons to two earth stations, 1,200 kilometers apart, in a move to test quantum entanglement over a greater distance, as well as test quantum teleportation between a ground station in Ali, Tibet, and itself.

“The newly-launched satellite marks a transition in China’s role — from a follower in classic information technology (IT) development to one of the leaders guiding future IT achievements,” said Pan Jianwei, chief scientist of QUESS project with the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS).

The scientists now are expecting quantum communications to fundamentally change human development in the next two or three decades, as there are enormous prospects for applying the new generation of communication in fields like defense, military and finance.

Spooky & entangled

Quantum physics is the study of the basic building blocks of the world at a scale smaller than atoms. These tiny particles behave in a way that could overturn assumptions of how the world works.

One of the strange properties of quantum physics is that a tiny particle acts as if it’s simultaneously in two locations — a phenomenon known as “superposition.” The noted interpretation is the thought experiment of Schrodinger’s cat — a scenario that presents a cat that may be simultaneously both alive and dead.

If that doesn’t sound strange enough, quantum physics has another phenomenon which is so confounded that Albert Einstein described as “spooky action at a distance” in 1948.

Scientists found that when two entangled particles are separated, one particle can somehow affect the action of the far-off twin at a speed faster than light.

Scientists liken it to two pieces of paper that are distant from each other: if you write on one, the other immediately shows your writing.

In the quantum entanglement theory, this bizarre connection can happen even when the two particles are separated by the galaxy.

By harnessing quantum entanglement, the quantum key technology is used in quantum communications, ruling out the possibility of wiretapping and perfectly securing the communication.

A quantum key is formed by a string of random numbers generated between two communicating users to encode information. Once intercepted or measured, the quantum state of the key will change, and the information being intercepted will self-destruct.

According to Pan, scientists also plan to test quantum key distribution between QUESS and ground stations in Austria. Italy, Germany and Canada, as they have expressed willingness to cooperate with China in future development of quantum satellite constellations, said Pan.

Life changing

With the development of quantum technology, quantum mechanics will change our lives in many ways. In addition to quantum communications, there are quantum computers that have also drawn attentions from scientists and governments worldwide.

Quantum computing could dwarf the processing power of today’s supercomputers.

In normal silicon computer chips, data is rendered in one of two states: 0 or 1. However, in quantum computers, data could exist in both states simultaneously, holding exponentially more information.

One analogy to explain the concept of quantum computing is that it is like being able to read all the books in a library at the same time, whereas conventional computing is like having to read them one after another.

Scientists say that a quantum computer will take just 0.01 second to deal with a problem that costs Tianhe-2, one of the most powerful supercomputers in the world, 100 years to solve.

Many, however, is viewing this superpower as a threat: if large-scale quantum computers are ever built, they will be able to crack all existing information encryption systems, creating an enormous security headache one day.

Therefore, quantum communications will be needed to act like a “shield,” protecting information from the “spear” of quantum computers, offering the new generation of cryptography that can be neither wiretapped nor decoded.

Going global?

With the launch of QUESS, Chinese scientists now are having their eyes on a ground-to-satellite quantum communication system, which will enable global scale quantum communications.

In past experiments, quantum communications could only be achieved in a short range, as quantum information, in principle, could travel no more than 500 kilometers through optical fibers on the land due to the loss of photons in transmission, Pan explained.

Since photons carrying information barely get scattered or absorbed when travelling through space and Earth’s atmosphere, said Pan, transmitting photons between the satellite and ground stations will greatly broaden quantum communications’reach.

However, in quantum communications, an accurate transmission of photons between the “server” and the “receiver” is never easy to make, as the optic axis of the satellite must point precisely toward those of the telescopes in ground stations, said Zhu Zhencai, QUESS chief designer.

It requires an alignment system of the quantum satellite that is 10 times as accurate as that of an ordinary one and the detector on the ground can only catch one in every one million entangled photons fired, the scientist added.

What makes it much harder is that, at a speed of eight kilometers per second, the satellite flying over the earth could be continuously tracked by the ground station for merely a few minutes, scientists say.

“It will be like tossing a coin from a plane at 100,000 meters above the sea level exactly into the slot of a rotating piggy bank,” said Wang Jianyu, QUESS project’s chief commander.

Given the high sensitivity of QUESS, people could observe a match being lit on the moon from the Earth, Wang added.

After years of experimenting, Chinese scientists developed the world’ s first-ever quantum satellite without any available reference to previous projects. Now they are waiting to see QUESS’s performance in operation.

According to Pan, his team has planned to initiate new projects involving research on quantum control and light transmission in space station, as well as tests on quantum communications between satellites, all-time quantum communications and the application of quantum key network.

“If China is going to send more quantum communication satellites into orbit, we can expect a global network of quantum communications to be set up around 2030,” said Pan.


SCIENCE EXPLORER ONLINE

China Launches World’s First “Hack-Proof” Quantum-Communications Satellite
By Kelly Tatera on August 18, 2016


photo credit: VISHAL TOMAR/flickr (CC BY 2.0)

Harnessing the mysterious workings of quantum entanglement.

On Monday (August 15), China launched the world’s first-ever quantum satellite, dubbed the Quantum Experiments at Space Scale (QUESS) spacecraft, in efforts to establish a “hack-proof” communications system.

QUESS launched from a Long March-2D rocket at the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in Gobi Desert, according to the Chinese news agency Xinhua. The satellite weighs in at 1,320 pounds (600 kilograms), and is programmed to complete one lap around Earth every 90 minutes, at an altitude of about 310 miles (500 kilometers).

According to Xinhua, QUESS is designed to establish a “hack-proof” quantum communications system by transmitting keys from space to the ground that can’t be cracked. Researchers hope the two-year mission will also provide new insights into quantum entanglement — one of the strangest phenomena in quantum physics.

DON'T MISS: Quantum Entanglement Could Be Used to Control the Atoms That Emit Light

Quantum entanglement describes “entangled” particles that are curiously linked to each other, even though the particles may be separated by millions of miles of space. If one of the particles goes through a change, it somehow affects the entangled particle as well.

READ MORE...

“Quantum communication boasts ultra-high security as a quantum photon can neither be separated nor duplicated,” explains Xinhua. “It is hence impossible to wiretap, intercept or crack the information transmitted through it.”

As impressive as the unhackable quantum communication undertaking is, it doesn’t stop there — QUESS will also test out “quantum teleportation” by beaming specific information about particle states from the satellite to the ground station in Tibet, Xinhua reports.

You might also like: China Built a Massive Telescope That Will Hunt for Aliens and Black Holes


SCIENCE EXPLORR

Scientists Designed a Prototype Chip to Make Quantum Computing Practical
By admin on August 9, 2016


prototype chip -photo credit: © GraphicCompressor / Fotolia

With built-in optics, it traps ions in an electric field and directs laser light toward each of them.

Quantum computers are largely hypothetical devices that could perform some calculations much more rapidly than conventional computers can. Instead of the bits of classical computation, which can represent 0 or 1, quantum computers consist of quantum bits, or qubits, which can, in some sense, represent 0 and 1 simultaneously.

Although quantum systems with as many as 12 qubits have been demonstrated in the lab, building quantum computers complex enough to perform useful computations will require miniaturizing qubit technology, much the way the miniaturization of transistors enabled modern computers.

SEE ALSO: Researchers Achieved Record-Breaking Logic Gate Required to Build Quantum Computers

Trapped ions are probably the most widely studied qubit technology, but they've historically required a large and complex hardware apparatus. In today's Nature Nanotechnology, researchers from MIT and MIT Lincoln Laboratory report an important step toward practical quantum computers, with a paper describing a prototype chip that can trap ions in an electric field and, with built-in optics, direct laser light toward each of them.

READ MORE...

"If you look at the traditional assembly, it's a barrel that has a vacuum inside it, and inside that is this cage that's trapping the ions. Then there's basically an entire laboratory of external optics that are guiding the laser beams to the assembly of ions," says Rajeev Ram, an MIT professor of electrical engineering and one of the senior authors on the paper. "Our vision is to take that external laboratory and miniaturize much of it onto a chip."

Caged in

The Quantum Information and Integrated Nanosystems group at Lincoln Laboratory was one of several research groups already working to develop simpler, smaller ion traps known as surface traps. A standard ion trap looks like a tiny cage, whose bars are electrodes that produce an electric field. Ions line up in the center of the cage, parallel to the bars. A surface trap, by contrast, is a chip with electrodes embedded in its surface. The ions hover 50 micrometers above the electrodes.

Cage traps are intrinsically limited in size, but surface traps could, in principle, be extended indefinitely. With current technology, they would still have to be held in a vacuum chamber, but they would allow many more qubits to be crammed inside.

"We believe that surface traps are a key technology to enable these systems to scale to the very large number of ions that will be required for large-scale quantum computing," says Jeremy Sage, who together with John Chiaverini leads Lincoln Laboratory's trapped-ion quantum-information-processing project. "These cage traps work very well, but they really only work for maybe 10 to 20 ions, and they basically max out around there."

DON'T MISS: A Chinese Supercomputer Is Officially the World's Fastest

Performing a quantum computation, however, requires precisely controlling the energy state of every qubit independently, and trapped-ion qubits are controlled with laser beams. In a surface trap, the ions are only about 5 micrometers apart. Hitting a single ion with an external laser, without affecting its neighbors, is incredibly difficult; only a few groups had previously attempted it, and their techniques weren't practical for large-scale systems.

Getting onboard

That's where Ram's group comes in. Ram and Karan Mehta, an MIT graduate student in electrical engineering and first author on the new paper, designed and built a suite of on-chip optical components that can channel laser light toward individual ions. Sage, Chiaverini, and their Lincoln Lab colleagues Colin Bruzewicz and Robert McConnell retooled their surface trap to accommodate the integrated optics without compromising its performance. Together, both groups designed and executed the experiments to test the new system.

"Typically, for surface electrode traps, the laser beam is coming from an optical table and entering this system, so there's always this concern about the beam vibrating or moving," Ram says. "With photonic integration, you're not concerned about beam-pointing stability, because it's all on the same chip that the electrodes are on. So now everything is registered against each other, and it's stable."

The researchers' new chip is built on a quartz substrate. On top of the quartz is a network of silicon nitride "waveguides," which route laser light across the chip. Above the waveguides is a layer of glass, and on top of that are the niobium electrodes. Beneath the holes in the electrodes, the waveguides break into a series of sequential ridges, a "diffraction grating" precisely engineered to direct light up through the holes and concentrate it into a beam narrow enough that it will target a single ion, 50 micrometers above the surface of the chip.

Prospects

With the prototype chip, the researchers were evaluating the performance of the diffraction gratings and the ion traps, but there was no mechanism for varying the amount of light delivered to each ion. In ongoing work, the researchers are investigating the addition of light modulators to the diffraction gratings, so that different qubits can simultaneously receive light of different, time-varying intensities. That would make programming the qubits more efficient, which is vital in a practical quantum information system, since the number of quantum operations the system can perform is limited by the "coherence time" of the qubits.

This article has been republished from materials provided by Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Note: material may have been edited for length and content. For further information, please contact the cited source.

Research paper:

Karan K. Mehta, Colin D. Bruzewicz, Robert McConnell, Rajeev J. Ram, Jeremy M. Sage, John Chiaverini. Integrated optical addressing of an ion qubit. Nature Nanotechnology, 2016; DOI: 10.1038/nnano.2016.139


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