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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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.
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Nature Physics (2018)