A Quantum Key to a Classic Problem

Has science reached a new frontier,

A quantum mess launched in to space;

To combat growing doubt and fear,

A first step in an unseen race.

 

A quantum mess launched in to space,

On board a nanosateliite;

A first step in an unseen race,

To correlate two beams of light.

 

On board a nanosateliite,

New instruments are working hard

To correlate two beams of light,

So we can use our credit card.

 

New instruments are working hard,

Amongst the stars and out of sight;

So we can use our credit card,

They question what is wrong and right.

 

Amongst the stars and out of sight,

To combat growing doubt and fear;

They question what is wrong and right,

Has science reached a new frontier?

 

An example of a nanosatellite, to scale (Photo Credit: Svobodat via Wikimedia Commons)
An example of a nanosatellite, to scale (Photo Credit: Svobodat via Wikimedia Commons).

 

This is a pantoum about recent research, which used a nanosatellite (total weight 1.5 kg) to demonstrate that correlated pairs of photons could be generated and successfully analysed in space. Such pairs of photons are key to Quantum Key Distribution, a relatively new form of encryption that uses quantum effects, and which is far more secure than more traditional methods. As well as laying the foundations for establishing a global network of quantum cryptography (akin to how the telecommunications network now primarily operates from space), this research also demonstrates that using nanosatellites is a cost-effective and efficient manner for progressing space-based research. More traditional scientific satellites cost upwards of tens of millions of pounds, and take many years to construct. In comparison nanosatellites are relatively cheap and quick to assemble.

An audio version of this poem can be head here.

Leave a Comment

Share This
%d bloggers like this: