The Distribution of Intercontinental Quantum Keys Highlights the Physics World in 2018

The website of Physics, a subsidiary website of the American Physical Society(APS), published the top ten Highlights 2018 in the international physical realm.The distribution of intercontinental quantum keys  was included, which relied on the quantum satellite Micius. It is mainly operated by the research group of USTC, consisting of Prof. PAN Jianwei, PENG Chengzhi and many researchers in the Academy of Sciences of Austrian and other institutions in China.

The website of Physics reported about this achievement in an article named “Satellite Quantum Keys”. It introduced the world’s first intercontinental quantum encrypted video conference conducted by the cooperative research teams which come from China and Austria and the benefits of quantum communication system. On account of the innate loss of the channel, the distribution of the quantum keys of the free space channel of the ground and fiber channel are limited within hundreds of kilometers. And the research group realized the share of the quantum keys between two station on the ground separated by 7600 kilometers with a rate of kilo bits per second by utilizing the character that photons transmit with little loss in space. They also performed an encrypted transmission of images between Beijing and Vienna with the shared keys and built a encrypting video communication system between these two places. With this system they successfully held a 75 minutes intercontinental quantum encrypted video conference, whose encrypted data added up to 2 Gbytes. It is a good news for the construction of the global quantum communication network.

This achievement was delivered on Physical Review Letters as the cover paper in Jan 19th, 2018 and also selected as Editors’ Suggestion. It is also reported by the Physics website as focus story. The American Physical Society issued a press release named Real-world intercontinental quantum communications enabled by the Micius satellite to the news media worldwide as well.

The research above was supported by the Academy of Science, National Fund Committee, the technology department, Anhui Province and Shanghai municipality.

(Illustration of the three cooperating ground stations, Image by Sheng-Kai Liao et al.)

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(Written by LIU Zige, edited by LYU Jinghao, USTC News Center) 

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