The thought of being ‘beamed up’ into space, like what Scotty from Star-Trek does, was at first an unfathomable aspiration for us; but China’s recent expedition into the quantum realm has turned out to be a game changer.
The phenomena used is what Einstein, called ‘Spukhafte Fernwirkung’ or ‘spooky action at a distance’. Physicists, today, know it as quantum entanglement and it is the state when multiple particles are invisibly connected to each other across any distance, even the opposite corners of the universe. Such particles are recognized by their opposite properties, like the spin direction of an entangled particle is up hence the spin direction of its other entangled particle will always be down.
The Chinese set up a 4000 meters high-altitude ground station in Ngari, Tibet to avoid the entanglement from being disrupted by atmospheric interference like it did in previous experiments. They beamed an ultraviolet laser through a special crystal to split the laser into pairs of entangled photons. They then fired one of these photons to the highly sensitive photon receiver on the Chinese quantum satellite, Micius, orbiting Sun-synchronously 300 miles above, and through measurements confirmed that they retained their entanglement. Then, over a period of 32 days, they transmitted millions of photons via this quantum link and found 911 cases to be successful.
This is huge for us. Quantum entanglement has uncountable applications in almost every field of science and technology. It is a true feat of physics that can develop faster-than-light communication across galaxies, quantum computing and maybe even physical Star-Trek teleportation machines. Just imagine, a quantum internet where every bit or rather quantum-bit of data is encrypted and secure, where true privacy can be delivered and where we can actually harness the power of computers. "Don't hold your breath," Brian Greene says. "I mean, it's an infinitesimal step."
Quantum entanglement plays a huge part in cybersecurity as well. As the quantum bits would be randomly generated they would represent true unbreakable encryption. Furthermore this type of communication can save us big money and deliver true efficiency. Before this, quantum networks had been formed but with fiber-optic cables, which are largely expensive and loose the entanglement over great distances. Wireless quantum entanglement is limitless in distance and can allow instant interstellar communication, never making us wait for 20 minutes before a signal reaches, like the Curiosity Rover on Mars does. And now that it has been proved scientists are going to do just that, revolutionize the modern world.