In DepthQuantum Physics

Spooky action achieved at record distance

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Science  16 Jun 2017:
Vol. 356, Issue 6343, pp. 1110-1111
DOI: 10.1126/science.356.6343.1110

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Summary

Quantum entanglement has moved out of this world and into space. In a study that shows China's growing mastery of both the quantum world and space science, a team of physicists reports that it sent eerily intertwined quantum particles from a satellite to ground stations separated by 1200 kilometers. Quantum physics says the quantum states of entangled objects remain linked until one of them is measured. That measurement instantly determines the quantum state of the other, no matter how far away—the "spooky action" at a distance that Albert Einstein was suspicious of. Results from China's Micius satellite show that the effect is real at a record distance, and the achievement foreshadows other quantum experiments in space.

  • * Gabriel Popkin is a journalist based in the Washington, D.C., area.