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Ground-to-satellite quantum teleportation


An arbitrary unknown quantum state cannot be measured precisely or replicated perfectly1. However, quantum teleportation enables unknown quantum states to be transferred reliably from one object to another over long distances2, without physical travelling of the object itself. Long-distance teleportation is a fundamental element of protocols such as large-scale quantum networks3,4 and distributed quantum computation5,6. But the distances over which transmission was achieved in previous teleportation experiments, which used optical fibres and terrestrial free-space channels7,8,9,10,11,12, were limited to about 100 kilometres, owing to the photon loss of these channels. To realize a global-scale ‘quantum internet’13 the range of quantum teleportation needs to be greatly extended. A promising way of doing so involves using satellite platforms and space-based links, which can connect two remote points on Earth with greatly reduced channel loss because most of the propagation path of the photons is in empty space. Here we report quantum teleportation of independent single-photon qubits from a ground observatory to a low-Earth-orbit satellite, through an uplink channel, over distances of up to 1,400 kilometres. To optimize the efficiency of the link and to counter the atmospheric turbulence in the uplink, we use a compact ultra-bright source of entangled photons, a narrow beam divergence and high-bandwidth and high-accuracy acquiring, pointing and tracking. We demonstrate successful quantum teleportation of six input states in mutually unbiased bases with an average fidelity of 0.80 ± 0.01, well above the optimal state-estimation fidelity on a single copy of a qubit (the classical limit)14. Our demonstration of a ground-to-satellite uplink for reliable and ultra-long-distance quantum teleportation is an essential step towards a global-scale quantum internet.

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Figure 1: Overview of the set-up for ground-to-satellite quantum teleportation of a single photon over distances of up to 1,400 km.
Figure 2: Distance from the ground station to the orbiting satellite and the measured attenuation during one orbit.
Figure 3: Fidelity of the teleportation state for the six quantum states, with data taken for 32 orbits.


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We thank many colleagues at the National Space Science Center, National Astronomical Observatories and Xi’an Satellite Control Centre, especially B.-M. Xu, J. Li, J.-C. Gong, B. Chen, X.-J. Jiang and T. Xi, for their management and coordination. We thank T. Chen and Y.-H. Zhou from Ngari Observatory for their support during the experiment. This work was supported by the Strategic Priority Research Program on Space Science, the Chinese Academy of Sciences and National Natural Science Foundation of China.

Author information




C.-Z.P. and J.-W.P. conceived the research. C.-Z.P., J.-Y.W. and J.-W.P. designed the experiment. J.-G.R., X.P., H.-L.Y., J.Y., K.-X.Y., X.H., Y.-A.C., C.-Z.P. and J.-W.P. designed and developed the multi-photon sources. J.-G.R., H.-L.Y., K.-X.Y., X.H., J.L., H.-Y.W., C.-Z.P. and J.-W.P. designed and operated the telescopes. J.-G.R., L.Z., S.-K.L., J.Y., W.-Y.L., W.-Q.C., M.Y., Y.-W.K., Z.-P.H., S.W., L.L., D.-Q.L., R.S., Z.-C.Z., C.-Z.P., J.-Y.W. and J.-W.P. designed and developed the payloads on the satellite. H.-L.Y., L.Z., W.-Y.L., W.-Q.C. and P.S. developed the software. C.-Y.L., Y.-A.C., C.-Z.P. and J.-W.P. analysed the data and wrote the manuscript, with input from J.-G.R., P.X. and H.-L.Y. All the authors contributed to the data collection, discussed the results and reviewed the manuscript. J.-W.P. supervised the whole project.

Corresponding authors

Correspondence to Cheng-Zhi Peng, Jian-Yu Wang or Jian-Wei Pan.

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The authors declare no competing financial interests.

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Extended data figures and tables

Extended Data Figure 1 Structure of the first module.

The only difference from the other two modules is that this module contains a second-harmonic-generation device to generate the 390-nm-wavelength pump laser (blue solid line). In working conditions, the light trap that collects the pump laser will be replaced by a lens, and the laser will be sent to the next module (blue dotted line). 780-nm-wavelength light is indicated by the red line. DM, dichroic mirror; HWP, half-wave plate; QWP, quarter-wave plate; PBS, polarizing beam splitter.

Extended Data Figure 2 Establishing a reliable ground-to-satellite link for teleportation.

a, b, Performance of the APT system on the X (horizontal; a) and Y (vertical; b) axes. The left panels show real-time tracking errors that are read out from the camera with a sampling rate of 2 kHz. The right panels show frequency counts of the tracking error, which is used to extract a full-width at half-maximum (FWHM) of 6.5 μrad (X axis) and 6.3 μrad (Y axis). ce, Tests of beam diffraction and wandering. c, Divergence angle from a local test. The image is obtained by using a CCD camera set at the focal plane at a 7-m local length collimator. The beam diameter is measured to be approximately 94 μm. The divergence angle is approximately 14 ± 1 μrad. d, Intensity profile of photons from a distant star coupled to the single-mode fibre through the telescope. The effective divergence angle estimated from the measured FOV of the intensity distribution is approximately 22 ± 3 μrad. e, The intensity pattern obtained by the satellite’s CCD camera is elliptical, with a divergence of 24–35 μrad.

Extended Data Figure 3 Aerial photograph of the teleportation ground station.

Multi-photon sources are prepared in the laboratory on the first floor. Three transmitting antennas are set on a high cement pier and arranged at the same latitude.

Extended Data Figure 4 Photograph of three transmitting antennas at night.

The ground station in Ngari, Tibet, is one of the world’s best protected dark-night zones. Three transmitting antennas are placed side by side on a platform. Quantum signals generated from the laboratory on the first floor are transmitted to the three telescopes. The beacon lasers and the synchronization laser are arranged on top of the transmitting antennas.

Extended Data Figure 5 Histogram of the time difference in time synchronization.

The histogram gives statistical information about the time-difference distribution of the synchronization detections at the ground and the satellite. The flight time from the ground to the satellite changes from 1.6 ms to 5 ms. A clear peak is evident in the time difference between synchronization signals after subtracting the flight time and comparing with neighbouring signals. One standard error of the time difference is about 0.7 ns. The FWHM of the histogram is less than 2 ns. The coincidence window is therefore set to 3 ns for a better signal-to-noise ratio.

Extended Data Table 1 Statistics of the 32 orbits used for the data collection of quantum teleportation
Extended Data Table 2 Observed fidelities of the teleported states in ground tests

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Ren, JG., Xu, P., Yong, HL. et al. Ground-to-satellite quantum teleportation. Nature 549, 70–73 (2017).

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