Quantum Teleportation Achieved Across 143 KmCategory: Science & Technology
Posted: September 5, 2012 01:22PM
Quantum teleportation is a real phenomenon that has been achieved many times before, but it is very different from the teleportation technology of many science fiction stories. Instead of transporting mass and matter some distance, this phenomenon teleports quantum state. You are not moving particle A to where particle B is; you are instead making particle B look exactly like particle A. This has obvious uses for transmitting information and now researchers at the University of Vienna with an international team have teleported a quantum state between the Canary Islands of La Palma and Tenerife, a distance of 143 Km.
Quantum teleportation is related to quantum entanglement in that it requires the states of multiple particles be linked perfectly. If we had two Schrodinger Cats and could say that if one were alive the other must be dead, then they are entangled. To continue this analogy to explain teleportation we need another, living cat and enough cat food to feed one cat. First give the cat food to one of the original two Schrodinger Cats, let's say cat B. After enough time has passed for the cat to eat it, assuming the cat is alive, move the cat food and give it to the new, living cat, we will call cat C (so the unfed Schrodinger Cat is cat A). If cat B is alive, it ate the food and left nothing for cat C to eat. This means both cat A and cat C will be dead. If instead cat B were dead, which means cat A is alive, then cat C would get to eat and live as well. The cat food has teleported the state of cat A to cat C, like a photon teleports the state of particle A to particle B.
While 143 Km may seem impressive now, the researchers are aiming for even greater distances as they wish to connect satellites to the Earth using quantum teleportation. Once this is accomplished we could start seeing the beginnings of a quantum Internet with the benefits of quantum security and quantum processing built in.