Quantum Communication Current Affairs

China launches world’s longest super-secure quantum communication line

China has launched world’s longest super-secure quantum communication line connecting Hefei, capital of Anhui province to Shanghai, the country’s financial hub.

The super-secure quantum communication line is 712-km in length. It boasts of ultra-high security making it impossible to wiretap, intercept or crack the information transmitted through them.

Key Facts

  • The 712-km line is part of a 2,000-km Beijing-Shanghai quantum communication.
  • It has 11 stations and it took three years of construction. In one of its first test communication, it had transmitted a secure video conference between the two cities.
  • The Beijing-Shanghai quantum communication line is expected to be completed at the end of the year 2016.
  • It will be backbone highly secured communication network to be used in the fields of finance, electronics and government affairs.

World’s first quantum satellite

Earlier in August 2016, China had successfully launched the world’s first quantum satellite. It was nicknamed as Micius after a 5th century BC Chinese philosopher and scientist. The Micius quantum satellite will be connected with the Beijing-Shanghai quantum communication line through the line’s station in Beijing. It will enable the space-to-Earth highly secure hack-proof quantum communication network.

What is Quantum communication?

  • Quantum communication uses subatomic particles to securely communicate between two points. These subatomic particles are mainly quantum entanglement of photons.
  • It ensures that nobody taps into the line as a photon can be neither separated nor duplicated. Thus tapping the network will inevitably corrupt the signal.
  • It has the ability to inform the two communicating users of the presence of any third party trying to eavesdrop. At the same time, the information being intercepted will self-destruct.

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China launches World’s first Quantum Communication Satellite

China has successfully launched the world’s first quantum satellite dubbed as Quantum Experiments at Space Scaler (QUESS) satellite.

The satellite was launched on board of Long March-2D rocket from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Centre in the remote northwestern province of Gansu.

Key Features

  • The QUESS satellite has been nicknamed as Micius after a 5th century BC Chinese philosopher.
  • It will be located in sun-synchronous orbit at an altitude of 500 km and will circle the Earth once every 90 minutes.
  • The satellite will help China to establish hack-proof communications system by transmitting uncrackable keys from space to the ground.
  • Applications: Ranges from highly secured military and government communications to online shopping.

Significance

Earlier, researchers around the world had successfully sent quantum messages on land. But this first of its kind satellite-based quantum network would make it possible to send quickly encrypted (hack proof) messages around the world. It also opens door to other possible uses of the technology. The launch is also a major triumph for China in the field of quantum technology.

What is Quantum communication?

  • Quantum communication boasts ultra-high security communication. It uses subatomic particles to securely communicate between two points.
  • In case intruder (hacker) tries to crack the message in Quantum communication, it will change its form in a way that would alert the sender and cause the message to be altered or deleted.

Note: Chinese philosopher Micius has been credited for conducting optical experiments.

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