Entanglement-assisted Communication System for NASA's Deep-Space Missions: Feasibility Test and Conceptual Design
Paul Kwiat
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
This project is involved with transferring information through the vast distances of space. The challenge is that it is difficult to get many photons from a transmitter on Earth to a distant satellite or vice versa. Therefore, one wants to be able to store and transmit as many bits of information as possible on each individual photon. This is the eventual goal of this project. In order to achieve this the team will be looking at what benefits can be obtained by using pairs of photons that are “entangled” with each other. Entanglement is the quintessential quantum mechanical phenomenon that describes the bizarre correlations that can exist between two quantum systems that have interacted with each other at some point in the past. The simplest example would be two coins, each of which are equally likely to give heads or tails when flipped, but somehow both always give the same result when flipped. And in reality, quantum entanglement is even a bit weirder than that. In any event, using entanglement may enable faithful transmission of more information per photon than conventional means; the goal is to demonstrate that, and see what the limits are.