China's quantum satellite clears major hurdle on way to ultrasecure communications
Just months into its mission, the world’s first quantum-communications satellite has achieved one of its most ambitious goals.
Researchers report in Science1 that, by beaming photons between the satellite and two distant ground stations, they have shown that particles can remain in a linked quantum state at a record-breaking distance of more than 1,200 kilometres. That phenomenon, known as quantum entanglement, could be used as the basis of a future secure quantum-communications network.
The feat is the first result reported from China’s Quantum Experiments at Space Scale (QUESS) mission, also known as Micius after an ancient Chinese philosopher. Launched last August, the craft is designed to demonstrate principles underlying quantum communication. The team is likely to launch more quantum-enabled satellites to start building a network.