Experimental verification of the feasibility of aquantum channel between space and Earth
Paolo Villoresi, Thomas Jennewein, Fabrizio Tamburini ; ... Bianco, Giuseppe;
Mar - 2014
DOI: 10.1088/1367-2630/10/3/033038
ISSN : 1367-2630 ;
journal : New Journal of Physics - Volume 10 Issue 3

Volume : 10 ; type: Article Journal

Extending quantum communication to space environments wouldenable us to perform fundamental experiments on quantum physics as well asapplications of quantum information at planetary and interplanetary scales. Here,we report on the first experimental study of the conditions for the implementationof the single-photon exchange between a satellite and an Earth-based station. Webuilt an experiment that mimics a single photon source on a satellite, exploitingthe telescope at the Matera Laser Ranging Observatory of the Italian SpaceAgency to detect the transmitted photons. Weak laser pulses, emitted by theground-based station, are directed toward a satellite equipped with cube-cornerretroreflectors. These reflect a small portion of the pulse, with an average of less-than-one photon per pulse directed to our receiver, as required for faint-pulse quantum communication. We were able to detect returns from satellite Ajisai, alow-Earth orbit geodetic satellite, whose orbit has a perigee height of 1485 km.

keywords : Computational physics Electronics and devices Quantum information and quantum mechanics