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The landmark breakthrough on intercontinental quantum-encrypted communications made by Chinese scientists opens the window for global quantum communications, turning the once-doubted quantum phenomena into reality, a world leading quantum physicist told Xinhua.

Renowned scientist Anton Zeilinger, seen as a pioneer in the field of quantum information and of the foundations of quantum mechanics, believes the landmark quantum-encrypted intercontinental video call between China and Austria is very important and impressive.

Quantum cryptography is the science of exploiting quantum mechanical properties to encrypt data. Quantum mechanics is a fundamental theory in physics which describes nature at the smallest scales of energy levels of atoms and subatomic particles.

“I see this as a part of the goal of building a future quantum internet, where in this case China enabled a worldwide quantum-secure communication,” the physicist said.

Zeilinger has cooperated with Chinese physicists on quantum communications such as the Chinese “quantum experiments at space scale” (QESS) project.

On Sept. 29, a team of Chinese scientists in Beijing led by Bai Chunli, president of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, held a half-hour video call with Zeilinger, who happens to be the president of the Austrian Academy of Sciences, and his colleagues in Vienna, using quantum encryption developed from the quantum phenomena called quantum entanglement that secures the communications.

Zeilinger was particularly impressed by how smoothly the tests ran, and how good the quality of the connection was between satellites and the ground stations.

“What was really impressive was that the connection was of such high quality. I was really impressed by the fact that the data collection via the satellites worked, I would say, even better than we expected,” said Zeilinger.

ONE UP ON EINSTEIN

For many quantum physicists, this practical application of the technology is undoubtedly an important milestone in the history of quantum mechanics, as the so-called mysterious quantum entanglement phenomena was made real.

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