The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) has successfully demonstrated free-space quantum communication over a distance of 300 metres for the first time in the country. To achieve this major feat, a range of “key technologies” were developed in-house, including the use of an indigenously developed “NAVIC receiver for time synchronisation between the transmitter and receiver modules and gimbal mechanism systems for optical alignment” instead of bulky large-aperture telescopes.
ISRO makes a breakthrough demonstration of free-space QKD over 300 m
ISRO in its official statement said, “The Quantum Key Distribution (QKD) technology underpins Quantum Communication technology that ensures unconditional data security by virtue of the principles of quantum mechanics, which is not possible with the conventional encryption systems. The conventional cryptosystems used for data-encryption rely on the complexity of mathematical algorithms, whereas the security offered by quantum communication is based on the laws of Physics. Therefore, quantum cryptography is considered as ‘future-proof’, since no future advancements in the computational power can break quantum-cryptosystem.”
ISRO develops key technologies to accomplish the demonstration
Live videoconferencing using quantum-key-encrypted signals was part of the demonstration. This is a significant step forward in the use of quantum technology to provide unconditionally stable satellite data communication, read the statement. It added, “The free-space QKD was demonstrated at Space Applications Centre (SAC), Ahmedabad, between two line-of-sight buildings within the campus. The experiment was performed at night, in order to ensure that there is no interference of the direct sunlight.”
According to the official statement issued by the IRSO, the experiment is a significant step forward in ISRO’s objective of demonstrating Satellite-Based Quantum Communication (SBQC), which the agency aims to demonstrate between two Indian ground stations. It noted, “The experiment is a major breakthrough towards ISRO’s goal of demonstrating Satellite-Based Quantum Communication (SBQC), where ISRO is gearing up to demonstrate the technology between two Indian ground stations.”
(Picture Credit: PTI/@ISRO/Twitter)
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