The scientists were able to create a source of photon pairs for a CubeSat nano-satellites and tested it in open space. The development will create a network for the transmission of quantum information in a protected space. On opening, the researchers reported in the journal Optica.
“In the future, our system could become part of a global network, transmitting quantum information to the Ground or to other spacecraft, says lead author aytor Vilar from the Centre for quantum technologies, National University of Singapore. — These signals can be used to implement any type of quantum communication, from quantum key distribution for secure data transfer to quantum teleportation”.
The researchers showed that their miniature source of quantum entanglement can work successfully in space onboard a CubeSat satellite that is a cube with edge length of 10 centimeters. To do this, scientists have carefully analyzed each component of the source of photon pairs that are used to create quantum entanglement, to see if you can reduce each of them.
New miniature source of photon pairs consists of a blue laser diode. The laser beam in the device is directed to a nonlinear crystal to generate pairs of photons. To do this, the researchers modified the mounts that align the nonlinear crystals. This has increased their accuracy and stability. Then the researchers tested whether their device to withstand vibration and thermal changes that occur during rocket launch and its stay in space.
The authors showed that the source of photon pairs supports very high quality of measurements and the generation of quantum entanglement throughout the test. The device was tested aboard running in 2019 satellite SpooQy-1 at temperatures from 16 °C to 21.5 °C. the crystal Alignment was maintained even after repeated temperature cycle during heating from -10 °C to 40 ° C. Now, the researchers plan to create several similar satellites, to bring them into orbit in 2022 and try to pass between them in quantum information.
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