A new record for quantum entanglement

Quantum entanglement satellite experiment
A schematic shows how China’s Micius satellite could theoretically enable secure quantum communications. (SMOC Graphic)

Chinese researchers report that they’ve set a new distance record for quantum teleportation through space, the phenomenon that Albert Einstein once scoffed at as “spooky action at a distance.”

The technology isn’t yet ready for prime time, but eventually it could open the way for a new type of unbreakable encryption scheme based on the weirdness of quantum physics.

The experiment, reported today in the journal Science, involved transmitting pairs of entangled photons from China’s orbiting Micius satellite to ground stations in the mountains of the Tibetan plateau, separated by more than 745 miles (1,200 kilometers).

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By Alan Boyle

Mastermind of Cosmic Log, contributor to GeekWire and Universe Today, author of "The Case for Pluto: How a Little Planet Made a Big Difference," past president of the Council for the Advancement of Science Writing.

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