One of the more famous pieces of technology from science fiction are teleporters that can send a person or object from one place to another. While it is not possible by known means to send matter from one place to another like this, it is possible to teleport complete information about a system across space. Now researchers at the University of Copenhagen, Niels Bohr Institute have found a way to do this with certainty between clouds of atoms at room temperature.
Quantum teleportation is a neat phenomenon whereby information of an atom or cloud of atoms is encoded on a photon. That photon can then interact with another atom or cloud of atoms, causing them to take on the same state as the first, causing the two separated systems to act like one. This is not a simple thing to accomplish as quantum states can be easily disrupted, but the researchers found that a coating of paraffin on the glass containers holding the cesium atoms protected them from losing their quantum states. As the cesium gases were at room temperature, so the atoms were moving around at 200 meters per second, that protection was greatly needed.
The ultimate goal of quantum teleportation research is to connect satellites to ground stations using it, which is a bit farther than the half-meter distance the researchers achieved in their lab. Fortunately though, the researchers point out that distance is not a limit of the technology, but that their lab is too small for the distance to be any greater.