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Pan Jianwei Publishes in Science
Post Time:07/07/2017 Browse Number:

On the evening of June 16, the News Channel of CCTV broadcasted a report on the results of Pan Jianwei's team at the Quantum Experiments at Space Scale (QUESS) research project. The satellite Mozi, or Micius, was launched last August 16 and is the world's first satellite based quantum entanglement experiment.

       After orbiting for several months, the satellite transmitted extraordinary good news: Mozi was able to increase the record of quantum entanglement distribution by one order of magnitude. On the same day, the Chinese quantum satellite made it on the front page of the latest issue of Science. It features an article written by Pan Jianwei, quantum satellite project chief, and his team of academicians from the Chinese Academy of Science and the University of Science and Technology of China.

       On that evening, Pan Jianwei’s parents were at their home in Dongyang and watched the news on television with great pride for their son’s achievement: “He is so busy, but he is working on a very important matter.” They both know their son’s wish: to write a new page in the world’s history of finest technology and to make major contributions to quantum physics.

       Quantum entanglement is a peculiar phenomenon of quantum mechanics. Commonly speaking, two quanta at entanglement state are telepathic; regardless of how far they are from each other, their conditions change reciprocally. Einstein referred to the quantum entanglement phenomena as “spooky action at a distance.” Quantum entanglement has many applications, including classified information and superdense coding. On the basis of quantum cryptography, such an application may be considered an “ultimate weapon” for information security.

       Science magazine considers this independent Chinese work to be milestone research in the field. Paper reviewers believe that this is a significant technical achievement with both potential practical applications and fundamental scientific value, and that it will undoubtedly have an impact on both the scientific community and the general public.

       In an interview, Pan Jianwei said, “This project laid solid technical foundations for future large-scale quantum networks and experimental studies in quantum communication, as well as outer space, general relativity, and quantum gravitational physics.”

       Peng Chengzhi, chief designer of Mozi’s application system, said, “This is the biggest achievement obtained by the quantum satellite since it was launched.”

       For the application of quantum information, it is necessary to implement large-distance quantum entanglement distribution. The problem is that quantum transmission at ground level is subject to a certain form of interference both through fiber optics and atmosphere. Thus, quantum entanglement distribution experiments at ground level were limited to a 100-km order of magnitude. An effective way to solve this problem is to use a satellite that communicates with the ground. The transmission attenuation of the satellite Mozi is one trillionth of the transmission attenuation at ground level on the same distance.

       “This work is a real breakthrough in the quantum entanglement distribution field,” Professor Seth Lloyd, Director of the Center for Extreme Quantum Information Theory at MIT, said. “This experiment proved the technical feasibility of long-range quantum communication, bringing about the hope to build long-range quantum communication in the near future.”

       The article “Satellite-Based Entanglement Distribution over 1200 Kilometers” explains that photons go between Mozi and Earth, launched from three ground stations—Delingha, Qinghai; Nanshan in Urumqi, Xinjiang; and Gaomeigu Observatory in Lijiang, Yunnan. The physical distance between Delingha and Lijiang is 1203 km. This is the first time that a quantum entanglement experiment was realized at an order of magnitude of 1000 km. (By Wang Jian, translated by Marco Lovisetto, edited by Pietro Dona' & Kendra Fiddler)

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