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Year in Review

A quantum communications satellite proved its potential in 2017

Intercontinental video call sets distance record for cryptography via entangled photons

By
8:28am, December 13, 2017
satellite beaming light down to telescope in China

SPACING OUT  Quantum communication through space is possible thanks to a Chinese satellite that beams particles of light down to telescopes like this one in Xinglong, China (shown here tracking the satellite’s location with a laser).

During the world’s first telephone call in 1876, Alexander Graham Bell summoned his assistant from the other room, stating simply, “Mr. Watson, come here. I want to see you.” In 2017, scientists testing another newfangled type of communication were a bit more eloquent. “It is such a privilege and thrill to witness this historical moment with you all,” said Chunli Bai, president of the Chinese Academy of Sciences in Beijing, during the first intercontinental quantum-secured video call.

The more recent call, between researchers in Austria and China, capped a series of milestones reported in 2017 and made possible by the first quantum communications

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