China marches ahead of India in quantum race
CHENNAI: Leaving behind countries like US and India, China has established an unbreakable quantum communication network with the help of world's first quantum satellite Micius by sending the encrypted messages and videos through photons to places as far as Austria.
This significant development which offers unconditional security for data can potentially change how the communications network is being operated around the world.
“Using Micius satellite as a relay, we have demonstrated intercontinental quantum communication between multiple locations, or Earth with a maximum separation of 7,600 km. Our work already constitutes a simple prototype for a global quantum communications network,” scientists said in a research article published in Physical Review Letters on Friday.
The scientists have transmitted a picture of Micius from Beijing to Vienna and a picture of Schrodinger from Vienna to Beijing using the secure quantum key.
They also held an intercontinental video conference between the Chinese Academy of Sciences and the Austrian Academy of Sciences on September 29, 2017, through the quantum communication network.
They employed advanced encryption standard that refreshed seed keys every second. The video conference between Austria and China lasted for 75 minutes with a total data transmission of 2 GB.
To increase the time and area coverage for a more efficient Quantum Key Distribution (QKD) network, the scientists headed by Jian Wei Pan also to launch higher orbit satellites and implement daytime operation using telecommunication wavelength photons and tighter special and spectral filtering.
“Though the experiment is a prototype, I think it will revolutionise the existing communication system. The quantum computers will take some time, but the quantum communication is going to be a reality,” said C.M. Chandrashekar, Optics and Quantum Information group, The Institute of Mathematical Sciences, Chennai.
“China has started almost 15 years back and invested heavily in quantum research. The European Union has started the research and done all the small-scale demonstrations,”he said.
It has already started a race between US, European Union and China. The department of science and technology in India has woken up to the reality and has announced mission quantum called ‘QuST’ and likely to spend up to '500 crores in the next five years in quantum technology-related research.
“Indian scientists are extremely good in quantum theory and contributed. But we are lagging behind in experiments,” said Professor Anirban Pathak from Jaypee Institute of Information Technology, Noida, Uttar Pradesh and also leads a research group focused on quantum optics and quantum information.
“It is a significant development. Gradually, people will go for the more secure communication network. The quantum communication network and developments by Chinese scientists affecting our research as well as the quantum researchers are getting more importance now,” he said.
He further said that “India is having a strong pool of scientists who are as good as anyone in the world. There are people who are competent enough to know how to build the satellites and payloads. We need to assemble all the talents towards quantum technological research to match with other countries,”