Skip to main content

Thank you for visiting nature.com. You are using a browser version with limited support for CSS. To obtain the best experience, we recommend you use a more up to date browser (or turn off compatibility mode in Internet Explorer). In the meantime, to ensure continued support, we are displaying the site without styles and JavaScript.

Ground-to-satellite quantum teleportation

Abstract

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.

Access options

Rent or Buy article

Get time limited or full article access on ReadCube.

from$8.99

All prices are NET prices.

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.

References

  1. 1

    Wootters, W. K. & Zurek, W. H. A single quantum cannot be cloned. Nature 299, 802–803 (1982)

    ADS  CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  2. 2

    Bennett, C. H. et al. Teleporting an unknown quantum state via dual classical and Einstein-Podolsky-Rosen channels. Phys. Rev. Lett. 70, 1895–1899 (1993)

    ADS  MathSciNet  CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  3. 3

    Briegel, H.-J., Dür, W., Cirac, J. I. & Zoller, P. Quantum repeaters: the role of imperfect local operations in quantum communication. Phys. Rev. Lett. 81, 5932–5393 (1998)

    ADS  CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  4. 4

    Pan, J.-W. et al. Multiphoton entanglement and interferometry. Rev. Mod. Phys. 84, 777–838 (2012)

    ADS  Article  Google Scholar 

  5. 5

    Chuang, I. L. & Gottesman, D. Demonstrating the viability of universal quantum computation using teleportation and single-qubit operations. Nature 402, 390–393 (1999)

    ADS  Article  Google Scholar 

  6. 6

    Raussendorf, R. & Briegel, H. J. A one-way quantum computer. Phys. Rev. Lett. 86, 5188–5191 (2001)

    ADS  CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  7. 7

    Bouwmeester, D. et al. Experimental quantum teleportation. Nature 390, 575–579 (1997)

    ADS  CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  8. 8

    Yin, J. et al. Quantum teleportation and entanglement distribution over 100-kilometre free-space channels. Nature 488, 185–188 (2012)

    ADS  CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  9. 9

    Ma, X.-S. et al. Quantum teleportation over 143 kilometres using active feed-forward. Nature 489, 269–273 (2012)

    ADS  CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  10. 10

    Landry, O., van Houwelingen, J. A. W., Beveratos, A., Zbinden, H. & Gisin, N. Quantum teleportation over the Swisscom telecommunication network. J. Opt. Soc. Am. B 24, 398–403 (2007)

    ADS  CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  11. 11

    Sun, Q.-C. et al. Quantum teleportation with independent sources and prior entanglement distribution over a network. Nat. Photon. 10, 671–675 (2016)

    ADS  CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  12. 12

    Valivarthi, R. et al. Quantum teleportation across a metropolitan fibre network. Nat. Photon. 10, 676–680 (2016)

    ADS  CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  13. 13

    Kimble, H. J. The quantum internet. Nature 453, 1023–1030 (2008)

    ADS  CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  14. 14

    Massar, S. & Popescu, S. Optimal extraction of information from finite quantum ensembles. Phys. Rev. Lett. 74, 1259–1263 (1995)

    ADS  MathSciNet  CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  15. 15

    Kwiat, P. G. et al. New high-intensity source of polarization-entangled photon pairs. Phys. Rev. Lett. 75, 4337–4341 (1995)

    ADS  CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  16. 16

    Chen, L.-K. et al. Observation of ten-photon entanglement using thin BiB3O6 crystals. Optica 4, 77–83 (2017)

    ADS  CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  17. 17

    Pan, J.-W. & Zeilinger, A. Greenberger-Horne-Zeilinger-state analyzer. Phys. Rev. A 57, 2208–2211 (1998)

    ADS  MathSciNet  CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  18. 18

    Liao, S.-K. et al. Satellite-to-ground quantum key distribution. Nature 549, https://doi.org/10.1038/nature23655 (2017)

    ADS  CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  19. 19

    Sherson, J. F. et al. Quantum teleportation between light and matter. Nature 443, 557–560 (2006)

    ADS  CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  20. 20

    Chen, Y.-A. et al. Memory-built-in quantum teleportation with photonic and atomic qubits. Nat. Phys. 4, 103–107 (2008)

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  21. 21

    Bussières, F. et al. Quantum teleportation from a telecom-wavelength photon to a solid-state quantum memory. Nat. Photon. 8, 775–778 (2014)

    ADS  Article  Google Scholar 

  22. 22

    Z˙ukowski, M., Zeilinger, A., Horne, M. & Ekert, A. “Event-ready-detectors” Bell experiment via entanglement swapping. Phys. Rev. Lett. 71, 4287–4290 (1993)

    ADS  Article  Google Scholar 

  23. 23

    Pan, J.-W., Bouwmeester, D., Weinfurter, H. & Zeilinger, A. Experimental entanglement swapping: entangling photons that never interacted. Phys. Rev. Lett. 80, 3891–3894 (1998)

    ADS  MathSciNet  CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  24. 24

    Yuan, Z.-S. et al. Experimental demonstration of a BDCZ quantum repeater node. Nature 454, 1098–1101 (2008)

    ADS  CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  25. 25

    Hensen, B. et al. Loophole-free Bell inequality violation using electron spins separated by 1.3 kilometres. Nature 526, 682–686 (2015)

    ADS  CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  26. 26

    Zhong, M. et al. Optically addressable nuclear spins in a solid with a six-hour coherence time. Nature 517, 177–180 (2015)

    ADS  CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  27. 27

    Yang, S.-J., Wang, X.-J., Bao, X.-H. & Pan, J.-W. An efficient quantum light–matter interface with sub-second lifetime. Nat. Photon. 10, 381–384 (2016)

    ADS  CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  28. 28

    Stone, R. World-class observatory rising on ‘Roof of the World’. Science 337, 1156–1157 (2012)

    ADS  CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  29. 29

    Yao, Y. et al. Site characterization studies in high plateau of Tibet. Proc. SPIE 8444, 84441K (2012)

    ADS  Article  Google Scholar 

  30. 30

    Wang, H., Yao, Y., Liu, L., Qian, X. & Yin, J. Optical turbulence characterization by WRF model above Ali, Tibet. J. Phys. Conf. Ser. 595, 012037 (2015)

    Article  Google Scholar 

Download references

Acknowledgements

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

Affiliations

Authors

Contributions

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.

Ethics declarations

Competing interests

The authors declare no competing financial interests.

Additional information

Publisher's note: Springer Nature remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations.

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

PowerPoint slides

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Ren, JG., Xu, P., Yong, HL. et al. Ground-to-satellite quantum teleportation. Nature 549, 70–73 (2017). https://doi.org/10.1038/nature23675

Download citation

Further reading

Comments

By submitting a comment you agree to abide by our Terms and Community Guidelines. If you find something abusive or that does not comply with our terms or guidelines please flag it as inappropriate.

Search

Quick links

Nature Briefing

Sign up for the Nature Briefing newsletter — what matters in science, free to your inbox daily.

Get the most important science stories of the day, free in your inbox. Sign up for Nature Briefing