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Beam me up, Scotty! Scientists teleport photons 300 miles into space

“将我传送上去,斯科蒂!”科学家把光子传至300英里外的太空



Star Trek tech is still way off but successful test of quantum entanglement at Earth-space distance boosts hope for building an unhackable quantum internet

星际旅行技术依然很遥远,但地球——太空量子纠缠的成功试验,让建设牢不可破的量子互联网有了希望

Chinese scientists have teleported an obxt from Earth to a satellite orbiting 300 miles away in space, in a demonstration that has echoes of science fiction.

中国科学家已将一个物体从地球传送到300英里外的卫星轨道的太空中,实现了科幻小说的幻想。

The feat sets a new record for quantum teleportation, an eerie phenomenon in which the complete properties of one particle are instantaneously transferred to another – in effect teleporting it to a distant location.

这项壮举为量子传送创造了新的记录,这是一个神奇的现象,一个粒子的全部属性瞬间转移到另一个粒子上——实际上这个粒子被传送到了远处。

Scientists have hailed the advance as a significant step towards the goal of creating an unhackable quantum internet.

科学家们称赞这一进步是朝着创造一个牢不可破的量子互联网这个目标迈出的重要一步。

“Space-scale teleportation can be realised and is expected to play a key role in the future distributed quantum internet,” the authors, led by Professor Chao-Yang Lu from the University of Science and Technology of China, wrote in the paper.

由来自中国科技大学的陆朝阳教授领导的作者们在报纸上写道:“空间尺度的传送可以实现,这预计在未来分布式量子互联网中将发挥重要作用。”

The work may bring to mind Scotty beaming up the Enterprise crew in Star Trek, but there is no prospect of humans being able to materialise instantaneously at remote locations any time soon. The teleportation effect is limited to quantum-scale obxts, such as fundamental particles.

这个实验可能会让你想起星际迷航里的斯科蒂,但即时传送对人类来说依然前景渺茫。这种量子传送效应仅限于量子尺度的物体,例如基本粒子。

In the experiment, photons were beamed from a ground station in Ngari in Tibet to China’s Micius satellite, which is in orbit 300 miles above Earth.

在实验中,光子从西藏的阿里地面站传送到距离地球300英里的中国墨子号卫星上。

The research hinged on a bizarre effect known as quantum entanglement, in which pairs of particles are generated simultaneously meaning they inhabit a single, shared quantum state. Counter-intuitively, this twinned existence continues, even when the particles are separated by vast distances: any change in one will still affect the other.

这项研究的核心是一种奇特的效应,称为量子纠缠,即成对的粒子同时产生,这意味着它们处于一个共享的量子态中。不寻常地说,即使颗粒被巨大的距离隔开,这种双重存在仍然存在:任何一个变化都会影响另一个。

Scientists can exploit this effect to transfer information between the two entangled particles. In quantum teleportation, a third particle is introduced and entangled with one of the original pair, in such a way that its distant partner assumes the exact state of the third particle.

科学家可以利用这种效应在两个纠缠粒子之间传递信息。在量子传送中,引入第三个粒子并与原始对中的一个相互纠缠,使得其远处的对象呈现第三个粒子的确切状态。

For all intents and purposes, the distant particle takes on the identity of the new particle that its partner has interacted with.

概而言之,远处的粒子会呈现出它的搭档和第三个粒子互动产生的新粒子的特性。

Quantum teleportation could be harnessed to produce a new form of communication network, in which information would be encoded by the quantum states of entangled photons, rather than strings of 0s and 1s. The huge security advantage would be that it would be impossible for an eavesdropper to measure the photons’ states without disturbing them and revealing their presence.

量子传送可以被利用来产生一种新的通信网络形式,其中信息将由纠缠光子的量子态编码,而不是0和1的串。巨大的安全优势将使窃听者无法在不干扰量子的状态下去测量量子,而这么做将会使他们的行为暴露。

Ian Walmsley, Hooke professor of experimental physics at Oxford University, said the latest work was an impressive step towards this ambition. “This palpably indicates that the field isn’t limited to scientists sitting in their labs thinking about weird things. Quantum phenomena actually have a utility and can really deliver some significant new technologies.”

牛津大学实验物理学教授霍恩斯表示,最近的工作是朝着这个雄心迈进的重要一步。“这显然表明,这个领域并不只是坐在实验室里的科学家想到的奇怪的事情。量子现象实际上具有实用性,可以真正提供一些重要的新技术。”

Scientists have already succeeded in creating partially quantum networks in which secure messages can be sent over optical fibres. However, entanglement is fragile and is gradually lost as photons travel through optical fibres, meaning that scientists have struggled to get teleportation to work across large enough distances to make a global quantum network viable.

科学家已经成功创建了可以通过光纤发送安全消息的部分量子网络。然而,量子纠缠是脆弱的,并且会随着光子穿过光纤而逐渐丧失,这意味着科学家们要努力让量子传送的有效距离更大,从而使建造一个全球量子网络变得可行。

The advantage of using a satellite is that the particles of light travel through space for much of their journey. Last month, the Chinese team demonstrated they could send entangled photons from space to Earth. The latest work does the reverse: they sent photons from the mountaintop base to the satellite as it passed directly overhead.

使用卫星的优点在于,光粒的传送大部分是在太空中进行的。上个月,中国团队证明他们可以把纠缠的光子从太空传送到地球。最新的研究结果正好相反:当卫星直接通过头顶时,他们将光子从山顶的基地发送到卫星上。

Transmitting into space is more difficult as turbulence in the Earth’s atmosphere can cause the particles to deviate, and when this occurs at the start of their journey they can end up further off course.

由于地球大气中的湍流会导致粒子偏离,所以向太空传送会更为困难,当这种情况发生在它们的旅程开始时,它们可能会传送到比预设更远的地方。

The latest paper, published on the Arxiv website, describes how, more than 32 days, the scientists sent millions of photons to the satellite and achieved teleportation in 911 cases.

最新的论文发表在arXiv网站,介绍了科学家如何在超过32天里,向卫星发射了数百万的光子并完成了911例量子传送。

“This work establishes the first ground-to-satellite up-lix for faithful and ultra-long-distance quantum teleportation, an essential step toward global-scale quantum internet,” the team write.

该团队写道:“这项工作成功建立了第一个接地卫星链路和超长距离量子传送,向全球规模量子互联网迈出了关键一步。”

A number of teams, including the European Space Agency and Canadian scientists, have similar quantum-enabled satellites in development, but the latest results suggest China is leading the way in this field.

包括欧洲航天局和加拿大科学家在内的一些团队也在发展类似的量子卫星,但最新的结果表明,中国在这一领域处于领先地位。