June 16, 2024

SEAQUE: Space Station To Host “Self-Healing” Quantum Communications Technology Demo

Quantum computer systems hold the guarantee of running millions of times faster than traditional computer systems, and distributed quantum sensors might lead to new understandings of Earth and our location in the universe by measuring minute modifications in gravity. For quantum computers or quantum sensing units to communicate, they will need a dedicated interactions network. Ultimately, transmitting such photons to quantum computer systems on the ground could supply the foundation for quantum cloud computing– the ways to exchange and procedure quantum information regardless of where the computers are located.
Quantum interactions nodes will need highly delicate detectors to get the single-photon quantum signals from Earths surface. Left uncontrolled, space radiation will eventually degrade such detectors so much that they will need to be replaced regularly, hampering the viability of a global quantum communications network.

SEAQUE will be hosted on the International Space Station by the Nanoracks Bishop airlock. The blue-and-gold brackets connected to the side of the airlock are for external payloads. The technology presentation will be installed at one of those websites. Credit: NASA
The NASA-funded experiment will test 2 innovations that might eventually make it possible for quantum computer systems to interact with each other no matter where they lie.
A small experiment introducing to the International Space Station later on this year might set the phase for a future global quantum network. Called the Space Entanglement and Annealing QUantum Experiment (or SEAQUE), the milk-carton-size technology presentation will check 2 interactions technologies in the extreme environment of area.
Quantum computer systems hold the promise of running millions of times faster than conventional computer systems, and distributed quantum sensing units may result in new understandings of Earth and our place in the universe by measuring minute changes in gravity. But for quantum computer systems or quantum sensing units to interact, they will require a dedicated communications network. A key part of this network will be area “nodes” that can receive and send quantum information to and from the ground via free-space optical communications.

EAQUE sets out to prove the practicality of innovations that could enable orbiting nodes to safely connect quantum transmitters and receivers over great ranges. To do that, these nodes will need to produce and identify sets of knotted photons. Ultimately, transmitting such photons to quantum computer systems on the ground might provide the structure for quantum cloud computing– the means to exchange and process quantum information despite where the computer systems lie.
As soon as connected to the spaceport stations exterior, SEAQUE will likewise test a method to help space-based nodes “self-heal” from radiation damage, a continuous difficulty of preserving delicate instruments in space.
” Demonstrating these 2 innovations constructs the foundation for future international quantum networks that can connect quantum computer systems situated hundreds and even thousands of miles apart,” said Makan Mohageg, SEAQUE co-investigator at NASAs Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Southern California.
Like the network its planned to allow, the job is worldwide. The SEAQUE collaboration consists of scientists and students from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, who are leading the job; the University of Waterloo in Ontario, Canada; National University of Singapore; Montana-based commercial partner AdvR, Inc.; Texas-based industrial space systems provider Nanoracks; and JPL.
The Power of Entanglement
This is a basic characteristic of quantum mechanical systems. Those child photons are then counted and their quantum homes are measured by the instruments internal detectors.
Whereas other space-based quantum experiments have depended on bulk optics (which focus light into an unique crystal) to generate entangled photons, SEAQUE counts on an incorporated source of entangled photons using a waveguide– a first for spacecraft. A waveguide is a microscopic structure that acts like an expressway for photons, directing their transmission with little loss of the quantum state.
” SEAQUE will demonstrate a never-before-flown and new entanglement source based upon integrated optics,” said Paul Kwiat, the tasks primary investigator at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. “Such a source is inherently much smaller sized, more robust, and more effective at producing photon pairs than the bulk optic entanglement sources utilized in previous area experiments.”
or example, where those bulk optics need delicate optical realignment by an operator on the ground after being shaken up during launch, SEAQUEs optics will not.
” If youre constructing a global quantum network, connecting hundreds of quantum ground stations on different continents, you cant manage to have a person-in-the-loop keeping the sources at each of the nodes in optical alignment,” stated Mohageg. “A monolithic waveguide-based source like the one SEAQUE is going to fly will be a huge advance towards a scalable, global quantum details network.”
Laser Healing
The technology presentations dependability could get another boost if SEAQUE proves it can likewise fix damage inflicted on it by radiation.
Quantum interactions nodes will need extremely delicate detectors to receive the single-photon quantum signals from Earths surface area. Left untreated, area radiation will ultimately degrade such detectors so much that they will require to be replaced regularly, impeding the viability of a global quantum communications network.
While detecting signals from Earth is beyond the scope of this innovation presentation, SEAQUE will utilize its detector array to count the photons created by its entanglement source. And SEAQUE will use a bright laser to periodically fix radiation-induced damage that will affect the detector ranges count– another.
“In tests on the ground, we discovered that this strategy causes the flaws in the lattice to bubble away– a process referred to as annealing– thus decreasing detector sound and possibly prolonging the life of in-space quantum nodes, assisting in a robust international network,” stated Kwiat.
SEAQUE will be hosted on the space station by the Bishop airlock, owned and run by Nanoracks. The incorporated optical knotted photon source for SEAQUE is developed by AdvR, Inc.