Breakthrough coming in quantum tech soon

Source:Xinhua Published: 2017/10/19 22:03:39

New system offers higher security

Chinese researchers will soon make a breakthrough in quantum communication, a senior university official said on Thursday, after the world's first 2,000-kilometer quantum communication line between Beijing and Shanghai went into operation in September.

The research team, led by Pan Jianwei from the Chinese Academy of Sciences, has continued deep research to optimize the transmission of the quantum communication line so that a jam will not occur when the number of users increases, said Xu Wu, Party chief of the University of Science and Technology of China based in Hefei, capital of East China's Anhui Province.

Due to the attenuation of optical fiber, relay stations are needed to extend the distance of quantum communication. There are more than 30 relay stations, with an average distance of about 80 kilometers between them, on the Beijing-Shanghai line.

The research team is working to extend the distance between two stations to 300 or 500 kilometers to cut the number of relay stations and consequently the overall cost, said Xu, one of more than 2,200 delegates attending the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China (CPC), which opened on Wednesday in Beijing.

A breakthrough will be made in this regard in the near future, said Xu, whose university is applying for the status of a national laboratory in the quantum field.

Quantum communication has ultra-high security. It is impossible to wiretap, intercept or crack the information transmitted through this means.

The Beijing-Shanghai quantum communication line is connected to the world's first quantum satellite, which was launched by China in August last year, through a station in Beijing.

Given that it is a new type of communication, the line's operation might encounter some problems. The team will solve the problems through research so that the line can better meet the needs of the country and users, said Xu.

Since the launch of the first quantum line between Beijing and Shanghai, Chinese scientists have also been planning to conduct quantum key distribution experiments with a ground station in other countries such as Austria, Germany and Italy. Ground stations in Germany and Italy will be ready by the end of 2017, Pan said in August.

The intercontinental experiment shows that the quantum satellite can work not only with Chinese facilities, but also with facilities in other countries and regions, Pan said.

His research team is looking to integrate quantum communications with the traditional fiber network to securely transmit information and make the technology more practical. Their longer-term aim is to set up a global quantum communications network.

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