(Engineering) The SpooQy-1 satellite has successfully demonstrated quantum entanglement in orbit. It’s a phenomenon where a pair of particles form an unbreakable link—no matter the distance between them—so that altering one particle instantly affects the other. Quantum entanglement forms the basis of a variety of quantum communications applications.
Using a blue laser diode and nonlinear crystals, SpooQy-1 produced pairs of entangled photons in two barium borate crystals.
It did so on a device less than eight inches by four inches, weighing a mere five pounds. The device was designed to operate with as little power as possible—an important feature if satellite-based Internet is to be viable. That vision would rely on an extensive network of satellites distributing entangled photon pairs to ground-based receivers.
‘In the future, our system could be part of a global quantum network transmitting quantum signals to receivers on Earth or on other spacecraft,” said Aitor Villar, a physicist at the National University of Singapore.
“Progress toward a space-based global quantum network is happening at a fast pace,” said Villar. “We hope that our work inspires the next wave of space-based quantum technology missions.”