First Integrated Quantum Communication Network

Chinese researchers have established the world’s very first incorporated quantum communication network, combining over 700 optical fibers on the ground with 2 ground-to-satellite links to attain quantum key circulation over a total range of 4,600 kilometers for users across the nation. Credit: University of Science and Innovation of China

Chinese researchers have established the world’s very first integrated quantum interaction network, integrating over 700 fiber optics on the ground with two ground-to-satellite links to achieve quantum key circulation over a total range of 4,600 kilometers for users across the nation. The team, led by Jianwei Pan, Yuao Chen, Chengzhi Peng from the University of Science and Technology of China in Hefei, reported in Nature their most current advances towards the worldwide, practical application of such a network for future communications.

Unlike conventional encryption, quantum communication is considered unhackable and therefore the future of protected details transfer for banks, power grids and other sectors. The core of quantum interaction is quantum crucial circulation (QKD), which uses the quantum states of particles– e.g. photons– to form a string of absolutely nos and ones, while any eavesdropping between the sender and the receiver will alter this string or key and be noticed immediately. In 2016, China released the world’s very first quantum interaction satellite (QUESS, or Mozi/Micius) and achieved QKD with two ground stations which are 2,600 km apart.

Using relied on relays, the ground-based fiber network and the satellite-to-ground links were integrated to serve more than 150 commercial users across China, consisting of state and regional banks, municipal power grids, and e-government sites. “Our work shows that quantum interaction technology is adequately fully grown for large-scale practical applications,” said Jianwei Pan, Professor of USTC. Likewise, a global quantum interaction network can be established if national quantum networks from different nations are combined, and if universities, organizations and business come together to standardize associated protocols, hardware, and so on, he added.

In the last couple of years, the group extensively evaluated and enhanced the efficiency of different parts of the integrated network. The researchers have actually also pushed the record for ground-based QKD to beyond 500 km utilizing a new technology called twin-field QKD (TF-QKD).

Next up, the team will further expand the network in China and with their worldwide partners from Austria, Italy, Russia and Canada. They likewise intend to establish small-scale, cost-efficient QKD satellites and ground-based receivers, in addition to medium and high earth orbit satellites to achieve all-time, ten-thousand-km-level QKD.

Recommendation: 6 January 2021, Nature
DOI: 10.1038/ s41586-020-03093 -8

Their work was supported by the National Advancement and Reform Commission of China, the provincial/municipal federal government of Shandong, Anhui, and Shanghai, China Banking Regulatory Commission, the Chinese Academy of Sciences, the Ministry of Science and Technology of China, and the National Science Foundation of China.

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