NanoRacks-GOMX-2: Small Photon Entangling Quantum System (NanoRacks-GOMX-2) - 04.11.18

Overview | Description | Applications | Operations | Results | Publications | Imagery

ISS Science for Everyone

Science Objectives for Everyone
Quantum entanglement, which Einstein called “spooky action at a distance,” is a connection between two different particles at the atomic level in which anything affecting one particle also affects the other, even if they are separated. Entangled particles of light (photons) can be used in quantum computers, secure communications systems, and unbreakable cryptography, but first scientists have to generate the photons and then entangle them. The NanoRacks-GOMX-2: Small Photon Entangling Quantum System (NanoRacks-GOMX-2) investigation demonstrates it is possible to generate pairs of quantum entangled photons in space using a modest CubeSat system.
Science Results for Everyone
Initiation of this investigation has been affected by the loss of the Orbital-3 launch vehicle and mission in October 2014.

The following content was provided by Morten Bisgaard, Ph.D., and is maintained in a database by the ISS Program Science Office.
Experiment Details

OpNom: NanoRacks CubeSat Deployer

Principal Investigator(s)
Morten Bisgaard, Ph.D., GomSpace, Aalborg East, Denmark

Co-Investigator(s)/Collaborator(s)
Information Pending

Developer(s)
GomSpace Aps, Aalborg East, Denmark
National University of Singapore, Centre for Quantum Technologies, Singapore
NanoRacks, LLC, Webster, TX, United States

Sponsoring Space Agency
National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)

Sponsoring Organization
National Laboratory (NL)

Research Benefits
Scientific Discovery, Space Exploration

ISS Expedition Duration


Expeditions Assigned
Information Pending

Previous Missions
Information Pending

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Experiment Description

Research Overview

  • NanoRacks-GOMX-2: Small Photon Entangling Quantum System (NanoRacks-GOMX-2) flight qualifies the second generation advanced CubeSat bus from GomSpace.
  • NanoRacks-GOMX-2 demonstrates a working polarization entangled photon source in low earth orbit (LEO), known as the Singapore Precision Engineering Quality Services (SPEQS) experiment.
  • NanoRacks-GOMX-2 flight tests a prototype CubeSat LEO deorbit device.

Description

NanoRacks-GOMX-2: Small Photon Entangling Quantum System (NanoRacks-GOMX-2) demonstrates a working polarization entangled photon source in low earth orbit (LEO), known as the Singapore Precision Engineering Quality Services (SPEQS) experiment. The SPEQS experiment is designed to generate and detect pairs of light particles (photons). By measuring the polarization properties of both light particles, it is possible to quantify the level of quantum correlations (known as entanglement) between them. A process called Spontaneous Parametric Down Conversion (SPDC) where a blue photon (at 405 nm) is converted into two photons centered on 810 nm generates the photon pairs. The SPEQS experiment carries both the source of photon pairs as well as the necessary polarization measurement apparatus. Within the SPEQS package is a small blue ray laser diode, crystals and single photon detectors.
 
Photon pairs generated via SPDC are useful for studying the fundamental physics governing correlated particles. A thorough understanding of the underlying physics enables the use of correlated particles in numerous applications, ranging from metrology to encryption. In particular, it is interesting to study how these correlated photons can be generated in a microgravity environment and to demonstrate that their correlations are preserved even after the photons have travelled through a changing gravitational field. This enables correlated photon technology to be deployed even in a space-based environment.
 
This mission on the NanoRacks-GOMX-2 satellite is designed to be a technology demonstration to show that it is possible to generate quantum correlated photon pairs in space using the CubeSat platform. If successful, it will pave the way for more ambitious experiments where correlated photons are beamed between platforms (space to ground) or (space to space) so that the correlations can be investigated over large distances.
 
The SPEQS mission was developed by the Centre for Quantum Technologies in Singapore.

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Applications

Space Applications
Measuring the properties of photon pairs is useful for studying the fundamental physics of entangled particles, which will make it possible to use entangled particles for anything from basic measurements to military-grade encryption. This investigation studies how these related particles can be generated in microgravity using a CubeSat payload called the Singapore Precision Engineering Quality Services experiment, designed by GomSpace. Results demonstrate that the photons’ entanglement is preserved even after they have traveled through a changing gravitational field.

Earth Applications
Quantum entangled particles can be used for encryption services, because quantum communications systems can securely exchange encryption keys. If anyone intercepts a quantum message, the interception will change the message, alerting the users to a possible eavesdropper. This investigation demonstrates that entangled pairs of photons can be created in space, which would make it possible to beam them to different locations on Earth. Results from this investigation could form the building blocks of a space-based quantum encryption network, enabling secret communications among military personnel, businesses and other users on Earth.

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Operations

Operational Requirements and Protocols

Not applicable.

NanoRacks CubeSats are delivered to the ISS already integrated within a NanoRacks CubeSat Deployer (NRCSD). A crew member transfers the NRCSDs, pre-assembled in groups of 4, from the launch vehicle to the JEM. Visual inspection for damage to each NRCSD quad-pack is performed. When CubeSat deployment operations begin, the NRCSD quad-packs are unpacked, mounted on the JAXA Multi-Purpose Experiment Platform (MPEP) and placed on the JEM airlock slide table for transfer outside the ISS. A crew member operates the JEM Remote Manipulating System (JRMS) – to grapple and position for deployment. CubeSats are deployed when JAXA ground controllers command a specific NRCSD.

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Decadal Survey Recommendations

Information Pending

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Results/More Information

Information Pending

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Related Websites
NanoRacks

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Imagery

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The NanoRacks-GOMX-2: Small Photon Entangling Quantum System (NanoRacks-GOMX-2) CubeSat. Image courtesy of GomSpace.

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