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Why the Quantum Internet Should Be Built in Space

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Artist's impression of quantum satellites in orbit.

Physicists say the best way to distribute quantum entanglement around the globe is via a massive constellation of orbiting satellites.

Credit: NASA

Louisiana State University researchers have proposed a satellite array for building a global quantum Internet to broadcast entangled photon pairs to two different terrestrial base stations. The base stations become entangled, enabling message swapping with unbroken secrecy.

Secure communications would rely on the stations simultaneously observing the same satellite to receive the entangled photons.

Simulations revealed that a small constellation of satellites in high-altitude orbit can deliver global coverage but is prone to greater photon losses, while lower-altitude satellites can only span shorter distances between base stations due to the concurrent observation requirement.

The researchers suggested a 400-satellite array about 3,000 miles up as a compromise.

One advantage of a space-based quantum Internet is substantially superior performance over ground-based systems of quantum repeaters.

From MIT Technology Review
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Abstracts Copyright © 2020 SmithBucklin, Washington, DC, USA


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