Researchers at the University of Ottawa in Canada have relayed a quantum-secured message containing multiple bits of information for each photon through the air above a city, a significant milestone in the quest to realize quantum data transmission.
"Our work is the first to send messages in a secure manner using high-dimensional quantum encryption in realistic city conditions, including turbulence," says University of Ottawa professor Ebrahim Karimi. "The secure, free-space communication scheme...could potentially link Earth with satellites, securely connect places where it is too expensive to install fiber, or be used for encrypted communication with a moving object, such as an airplane."
The team successfully demonstrated four-dimensional quantum encryption over a free-space optical network between two buildings 0.3 kilometers apart. The messages had an 11% error rate, below the 19% threshold required to maintain a secure connection. In addition, 1.6 times more information was transmitted for every photon than two-dimensional encryption.
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