Quantum Communication: Top Secret Unbreakable Communication

August 29, 2019

Quantum Communication: Top Secret Unbreakable Communication

Confidential communication is a very important scientific research field. It has a long history and is full of mysterious history. It has been continuously improved and improved with the development and progress of technology. Until now, is there an absolutely unbreakable method of confidentiality that can make the information transmitted securely and reliably?

Quantum communication is the only communication method that has so far been strictly proved to be unconditional and secure. So, what exactly is "quantum communication"? What is its technical path choice? What are the current development achievements in the field of quantum communication in China? What are its potential applications and future prospects? Let us ask experts and visit companies to uncover the mystery of quantum communication.

Where is the "God" in quantum communication?

When you look at the computer screen from a distance, you will find that the pictures in the computer are continuous; however, when you carefully observe the screen with a magnifying device, those continuous pictures are made up of a minimum unit of tablets. "Pixels" constitute.

The same is true of quantum. It sounds mysterious, but it does not fill us all the time every day. For example, the light that is common in our daily life consists of a large number of light quanta. In the microscopic field, the change of some physical quantity is carried out in the smallest unit of jump and is not continuous. Quantum, like the smallest "pixel" in a computer screen, is the smallest unit of energy.

"Quantum communication refers to the communication technology using the basic principles of quantum mechanics or based on the quantum properties of matter. It is an emerging communication technology that combines quantum technology with modern communication technologies. In theory, unconditionally secure link data transmission can be realized. It is the most important technical means for securing future communications,” said Li Jian, director of the Intelligent Cyber ​​Security Lab at Beijing University of Posts and Telecommunications.

According to Wang Xiangbin, a professor at the Department of Physics at Tsinghua University, “Quantum communication is, in a nutshell, a communication method based on the single quantum state of light to accomplish communication tasks that cannot be accomplished by classical communication methods, such as confidentiality tasks.”

Guo Guangcan, academician of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, chief scientist of the “973” project of the Ministry of Science and Technology, and professor at the China University of Science and Technology, told reporters that in the quantum communications field, there is quantum secrecy communication that has practical potential in the short term. The most useful part of this is quantum key distribution.

“The key (ie, the secret random number) obtained by transmitting the single quantum state of light is a quantum key. The so-called secret random number is a random number that cannot be known to any third party except the communication parties.” Wang Xiangbin said.

Classical communication uses the most widely used public key cryptosystems. The most typical one is the mathematical problem of assuming large-scale data decomposition. However, with the continuous improvement of computing power, especially the coming of the quantum computer in the future, the complexity of this mathematical problem has been solved, and the mathematical methods based on classic confidential communication cannot obtain strict mathematical proofs. "And one of the biggest selling points of quantum secrecy communication is that its security has obtained rigorous mathematical proofs, which can also be explained by its basic principles of quantum mechanics," Guo Guangcan said.

Li Jian stated that at present, China has included the quantum control technology with the quantum communication system at the core as a major research program in the "National Medium and Long-Term Scientific and Technological Development Plan Outline (2006-2020)". Since 2001, China has achieved many important research results in quantum communication research under the forward-looking support of the "973" Program, the "863" Program of the Ministry of Science and Technology, the National Natural Science Foundation of China Key Project, and the Knowledge Innovation Project of the Chinese Academy of Sciences.

What is the technical path of quantum communication?

Is it necessary to take a new quantum communication technology route? A number of experts and scholars interviewed by the reporter said that from the current actual situation, the integration of quantum communication networks with existing networks is its optimal development strategy. When the Internet was originally designed, it did not fully consider its own security in depth. This is one of the major reasons why the current network security problems are very prominent.

“The road to integration of quantum communication and classical communication is based on technical considerations rather than economic considerations.” Guo Guangcan believes that the strong confidentiality of quantum communications is based on quantum key technology. It is also based on the special nature of quantum research and development, while other communication technologies have little difference with traditional classical communication.

Academician of the Chinese Academy of Sciences and a researcher at the Institute of Physics of the Chinese Academy of Sciences said in an interview with this reporter: “The practical application of quantum communication from a principle to a small-scale application is the direction that the entire world is now working hard to achieve. There is also a very good academic leader, and the next step is to clearly define the problem. One of the most important aspects is to pay attention to the integration of quantum communications with existing traditional communications, and to be good at learning from existing communication technologies. To develop quantum communication technology."

A number of experts believe that the convergence of quantum communications and classical networks needs to solve the problems of convergence between physical layer and networking technologies, relay technologies, and communications application technologies. Since traditional optical communications may remain a major means of communication technology for a long time to come, the implementation of quantum communication networks on optical communication networks will be the basis for both parties' integration.

In the actual quantum communication, the integration of quantum communication and the existing traditional communication is a process of “complementing each other”. "Quantum communications will not completely replace existing communication technologies, but they will be perfectly integrated in the physical, network, and application layers in existing technologies." Guo Guangcan told reporters.

Guo Guangcan further explained that from the physical layer, it can be considered from light sources, detectors and channels. "In terms of the network layer, we can adopt independent channels and a unified network structure, and we can also use an optical fiber to transmit both quantum signals and classical signals."

At the application level, Guo Guangcan suggested that quantum communication can be combined with existing Internet security protocols, replacing the initial password in existing protocols with quantum cryptography. He said that this can not only get more reliable security, but also maintain a high rate of communication. For example, he said: "We use quantum cryptography to generate the seed key, and then use the traditional classical method to expand. This will not only guarantee the reliable security of the seed key, but also ensure high communication efficiency."

What are the achievements of China's quantum communication development?

The ancients sealed it with wax paint on the envelope. Once the letter was opened in transit, it left traces of “leakage”. It is easy to understand that quantum key plays a more important role in quantum communication than lacquer: Once someone tries to open a letter, the quantum key will automatically destroy the message and let users know the situation. From this point of view, having this technological achievement has a great impact on the development of science and technology in China. As a matter of fact, in the field of quantum communications, China is one of the few countries in the world that have the right to speak.

"Without the need for relaying, our country's quantum communication technology can guarantee communication security at a distance of more than 200 kilometers. At this level, China is leading in the world." Guo Guangcan frankly stated that this technology is applied to the actual situation. On the level, the safety distance can reach more than 100 kilometers. "China has the same level as the developed countries such as the United States, Europe and Japan."

Guo Guangcan is one of the famous scientists in the field of theoretical and experimental quantum information in China. His “Section-Guo Probabilistic Quantum Cloning Machine” is considered as “one of the most exciting developments in this field” and “quantum error avoidance coding” is recognized as One of three different principle codes.

In October this year, the Key Laboratory of Quantum Information of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, led by Academician Guo Guangcan, made important progress in high-dimensional quantum information storage. It is understood that the research team led by Professor Shi Pusen of the laboratory has for the first time achieved the storage and release of single-photon pulses with orbital angular momentum and spatial structure in cold atomic ensemble, and proved the establishment of high-dimensional quantum memory cells. Feasibility has taken a key step in the realization of long-distance large-quantity quantum information transmission based on high-dimensional quantum repeaters. This result was published online in the famous "Nature and Communications".

In addition, the research team of Professor Li Chuanfeng of the laboratory and British and Italian cooperators used a simple model of a two-particle system to experimentally observe the restoration of quantum correlation in classical noise environments. The research was published online on November 29 last year in Nature News.

Industry experts stated that the results of this research made it possible to regulate quantum associated resources in a classical noisy environment, to further realize the conditions needed for simplifying quantum correlation recovery, and to open up a new research for the restoration of quantum correlation in classical noise environments. path.

Not only in the field of scientific research such as laboratories, but many science and technology enterprises in China have also developed a good momentum of quantum communication. The “Jinan Quantum Communication Experiment Network” completed by the Shandong Quantum Science and Technology Research Institute Co., Ltd., established in March 2010, is the first batch of strategic emerging industrial projects in Shandong Province.

It is understood that the trial network has 50 node user units in the urban area of ​​Jinan, serving 90 users, covering provincial and municipal party and government agencies, procuratorate systems, financial systems, universities and research institutes, providing users with secure voice calls Various business services such as fax, text communication and file transfer. As the world’s largest quantum communication metropolitan area network, the trial network fully considered and referenced the network extensibility, manageability, maintainability, reliability, and network security in the classic network during the design and development of the scheme. Aspects of the request.

Yao Dong, an engineer at Shandong Quantum Science and Technology Research Institute Co., Ltd., told the reporter: “Jinan.com, as a systematic platform for the national test bed of quantum communication networks, has fully considered and referenced the extensibility of the network in the classical network during the design and development of the scheme. The requirements of sex, manageability, maintainability, reliability, and network security have become examples and benchmarks for building quantum communication networks in the future."

Potential Applications and Future Prospects of Quantum Communication

In 405 BC, the Peloponnesian War between Athens and Sparta, two ancient city-states of ancient Greece, was nearing its end. Athens’ intelligence personnel brought back a belt full of disorderly Greek letters from the Persian Empire. When an ordinary "belly" is wrapped around a scabbard in a spiral shape, the letters that aren't regularly used become strings of text.

More than 2,400 years later, with the development and progress of quantum communications, security measures have become more complex and more reliable. So, what are the potential applications and future prospects of quantum communication? According to industry insiders, the international competition for quantum communications will become increasingly fierce in the future, and humans will work hard to develop quantum secure communications over longer-distance and larger-scale wide area networks.

"Quantum communication has important potential applications and development prospects in the fields of military, defense, and financial information security." Li Jian believes that quantum communications can be used not only in state-level secure communications in military and national defense, but also in the use of secret data. , bills of government, telecommunications, securities, insurance, banking, industry and commerce, land tax, fiscal and other fields and departments.

Li Jian told reporters that in the fields of national defense and military, quantum communication can be applied to a communication key generation and distribution system to distribute quantum keys to any two users within the coverage area of ​​future battlefields and constitute a mobile security military communications network in the combat area; In addition, it can also be applied to information confrontation to improve the confidentiality of military optical network information transmission, improve information protection and information confrontation capabilities, and can be applied to deep-sea security communications, opening up new ways for deep-sea deep-sea security communications; using quantum teleportation As well as the absolute security of quantum communications, large channel capacity, ultra-high communication rate, long-distance transmission, and high information efficiency, the establishment of a military information network that satisfies the special needs of the military will win the first chance for national defense and the military.

In the field of national economy and departments, “the future of quantum communications can be used for hidden communications and other projects of financial institutions and monitoring and communications support for important infrastructure such as power grids, gas pipeline networks, and water supply networks, and to promote the development of the national economy.” Sword said.

The reporter learned from the Shandong Quantum Science and Technology Research Institute Co., Ltd. that, at present, the quantum communication technology in the metropolitan area has been fully matured, and never seen, the quantum secrecy communication will surely develop in the direction of more distant backbone lines and larger networks. The development trend of the application mode of quantum communication in the world. According to reports, the state plans to build a Beijing-Shanghai trunked communication link between Beijing, Jinan, Hefei, Nanjing, and Shanghai. The overall goal of the project is to connect to the Beijing metropolitan area access network and the Shanghai metropolitan area access network. The original Shandong “Jinan Quantum Communication Experiment Network” and Anhui “Hefei Metropolitan Quantum Communication Experiment Demonstration Network” formed a large-scale wide-area quantum secret communication network.

In the future, it plans to build this network as a technology verification platform and infrastructure, integrate verification of quantum communication and application technologies, and conduct research on remote high-definition quantum videoconferencing systems and other multimedia cross-domain interconnection applications to achieve remoteness in the financial and government fields. / The city's financial data disaster recovery system, financial institutions, data acquisition systems and many other applications.

However, the prospects for the future development of quantum communication technology will not be smooth and will meet various challenges and confusions. It is understood that quantum information technology includes two aspects: quantum communications and quantum computers. However, quantum computers are still in the basic research stage and have not been widely applied.

Despite the difficulties, Guo Guangcan is still full of confidence. He told reporters that quantum secret communication has been realized in engineering and industrialization. In the near future, a new industry, the quantum information industry, will be born.

The "God" full of quantum communications sounds unbelievable, and in fact, it has come gradually into our lives. It is not difficult to imagine that with the advancement of quantum communication technology and the further development of the wide-area quantum communication network, in the near future, as a key technology for securing the future information society communication security, quantum communication will be expected to become a large-scale application for information. The development of a socialized society provides basic security services and reliable security.

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