Quantum cryptography is held to be one of the most secure methods of encrypting data. This is because if a quantum-encrypted data is intercepted to be read or altered, it changes and the interception is immediately detectable. Scientists have long been trying to apply quantum-encryption in the real world.

And now, a German team of engineers has been able to create the first-ever air-to-ground quantum network over which data has been sent. The network comprised of a plane flying at a height of 20 kilometers and a base station.

The plane is fitted with a photon source and when it goes into the air, the base station is able to determine its position using a motorized mirror. Once it tracks the plane, it is able to gather photons transmitted by it and convert them into qubits.

Interestingly, the data in this experiment had been transmitted with a quantum bit error rate of a mere 4.8% and that spells a great break-through. The data that was transmitted comprised only of the keys since the popular concept is to encrypt the data on regular channels using certain keys and then transmit these keys over quantum networks so as to be sure of their security. This way, the keys as well as the data are secured.

Image Courtesy: Extreme Tech

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