A team of physicists from the School of Physics and Astronomy at the University of Edinburgh used mathematical calculations to show that quantum communication through interstellar space should be possible. In their article published in the magazine Physical assessment Dthe group describes their calculations and also the possibility that aliens try to communicate with us using such signals.
In recent years, scientists have explored the possibility of using quantum communication as a highly secure form of message transmission. Previous research has shown that it would be nearly impossible to intercept such messages without detection. In this new effort, the researchers wondered whether similar types of communication might be possible between interstellar space† To find out, they used math which describes that movement of X-rays through a medium, such as that between the stars. More specifically, they looked at whether their calculations could demonstrate the degree of decoherence that could occur during such a journey.
With quantum communications, engineers are faced with quantum particles that lose some or all of their unique properties as they interact with obstacles in their path — they’ve proved quite delicate, in fact. Such events are known as decoherence, and engineers working to build quantum networks have devised ways to solve the problem. Previous research has shown that the space between the stars is quite clean. But is it clean enough for that? quantum communication† The math shows it to be so. In fact, space is so clean that X-ray photons can travel hundreds of thousands of light-years without being subject to decoherence — and so is gravitational interference from astrophysical bodies. They noted in their work that optical and microwave bands would work equally well.
The researchers noted that because quantum communication is possible in the galaxy, if other intelligent beings exist in the galaxy, they could already try to communicate with us using such technology and we could start looking for them. They also suggest that quantum teleportation through interstellar space should be possible.
Arjun Berera et al, Viability of quantum communication over interstellar distances, Physical assessment D (2022). DOI: 10.1103/PhysRevD.105.123033
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