Written by Fred Bailey
The Chinese Academy of Sciences has announced the successful distribution, via satellite, of entangled photons between three different earth-based stations, separated by as much as 1200 km, opening up a new avenue in the feasibility of quantum communications.
Internet messaging is vulnerable to interception by nefarious individuals or groups. Which is a cause of pain to many of us, pain ranging from irritation to international peril.
You want to get a piece of information from Point A to Point B. It travels by a specific tangible pathway. It’s in that pathway from A to B wherein lies the vulnerability.
But what if you skip the pathway? What if you simply jump that information from A to B?
These recent Chinese experiments in the field of quantum physics may have demonstrated the possibility of a practical application of that idea, unlocking the door to firmly and effectively block interception—and therefore interruption, disruption and even the insertion of viruses.
It involves a thing called entanglement theory, which proclaims that it’s possible for two particles to interact in such a way that they’re inseparably connected, so deeply joined that even if they’re located light-years apart, something that happens to one of them will immediately be reflected, in a mirror image, in the other one.
Quantum physicists at the University of Science and Technology of China recently revealed they’d split pairs of photons and sent one of each pair to a satellite in orbit several hundred miles away. But they were able to prove that each photon remained inexorably linked to its double, replicating any behavioral changes.
Why would this be important or useful?
Because, as Time magazine put it, this entanglement “could lead to an instantaneous, ultra-secure Internet,” no longer vulnerable to hackers and worms.
How? Because data could be encrypted in one arrangement of particles that would then show up in its partner without being tangibly “sent.” The data would simply appear there.
“China has taken the leadership in quantum communication,” says Nicolas Gisin of the University of Geneva. “This demonstrates that global quantum communication is possible and will be achieved in the near future.”
Interestingly enough, even though this phenomenon has been previously demonstrated to be physically factual, it has never been adequately explained. Einstein called it “spooky action at a distance.”