Quantum computers have the potential of operating millions of times faster than conventional computers, according to JPL, and SEAQUE will test two new communication technologies to create quantum networks in the space environment. Building such a network would require the use of space-based nodes – essentially quantum repeaters – to securely receive and transmit quantum data from and to the ground using free-space optical communications. This experiment would test a technique for producing and detecting pairs of entangled photons which would carry the quantum data. The photon source on SEAQUE would split individual photons into entangled "daughter photons," according to JPL, and measuring one of them immediately results in changes in the measurement of the other, even if they are widely separated from each other. The photon source would use a waveguide – familiar to microwave-active hams – to split and transmit the entangled photons.
The second experiment would involve the use of an internal laser to repair damage caused by high-energy radiation in the space environment. It will use a process known as annealing to "bubble away" radiation-caused defects and reduce unwanted noise in the detector.
The SEAQUE module will be attached to the outside of the ISS, mounted on brackets already installed on the Bishop airlock, which is owned and operated by Nanoracks, a commercial participant in this experiment. The earliest possible launch date for SEAQUE is this coming August.
For more information, see <https://tinyurl.com/yek9smtk>.