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Quantum Teleportation: Already a Reality

One of the biggest takeaways from online schooling is how much we need teleportation.  While it’s easy to form friendships that span thousands of miles, it’s so much harder to travel that distance.  So, when can we expect a teleportation device to finally solve all our problems?  Even though the answer is (most likely) far, far into the future, maybe never, teleportation is theoretically possible and has already been performed on the subatomic level.

Unsurprisingly, teleporting actual objects is, at the moment, impossible.  However, scientists are now able to teleport information called qubits.  Short for “quantum bits,” these tiny pieces of data describe the particle’s properties such as velocity, momentum, and spin.  Quantum states are fragile and are unique to each particle, and transmitting this information would be enough to destroy the particle and reform an identical replica at the desired destination.

The biggest problem with transmitting quantum states is that the very act of measuring them changes the information.  However, there is a way to work around this.  Particles such as photons or electrons can become “entangled” so that the quantum state of one particle is identical to the quantum state of the other, regardless of distance.  No one knows how this works; in fact, Albert Einstein, who first discovered this property, had no better explanation for it than “spooky action at a distance.”  What we do know, though, is that changing data in one entangled particle immediately changes the data to match in the other particle, allowing scientists to use quantum entanglement to teleport information over any distance almost instantaneously.  While this is a relatively new field, scientists across the globe have been using it to teleport information, with some Chinese scientists breaking the records in 2017 by using quantum entanglement to send information from Tibet to a satellite 870 miles above the earth’s surface.

Because qubits can store much more information than the bits that our current computers run on, scientists are investigating using quantum teleportation to create computers that are exponentially more powerful than those we have now.  And, on the large, idealistic scale, quantum teleportation could possibly be used to teleport objects or even humans, since we also are made up of atoms that contain their own quantum information.   However, with the technology we currently have, it would take about 4.8 million years for all the information encrypted inside a human to load and reform, making teleportation much less practical than flying by plane.

 

Sources:

Emspak, Jesse, “Chinese Scientists Just Set the Record for the Farthest Quantum Teleportation.”  Space.com, 15 July 2017, https://www.space.com/37506-quantum-teleportation-record-shattered.html.

Hall, Dave, “Teleportation: Will It Ever Be a Reality?” The Guardian, 12 June 2018, https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2018/jun/12/teleportation-will-it-ever-be-a-possibility#:~:text=You%20would%20require%20stupendous%20bandwidth,than%20the%20universe%20has%20existed.

Hesla, Leah, “Fermilab and Partners Achieve Sustained, High-Fidelity Quantum Teleportation.”  Fermilab, 15 December 2020, https://news.fnal.gov/2020/12/fermilab-and-partners-achieve-sustained-high-fidelity-quantum-teleportation/.

“How to Entangle Two Electrons– And Do It Again and Again.” European Research Council, 28 August 2016,  https://erc.europa.eu/projects-figures/stories/how-entangle-two-electrons-%E2%80%93-and-do-it-again-and-again.

Nield, David, “Quantum Teleportation was Just Achieved with 90% Accuracy over a 44km Distance.” Science Alert, 31 December 2020, https://www.sciencealert.com/scientists-achieve-sustained-high-fidelity-quantum-teleportation-over-44-km.

Saini, Sanjan, TED-ed,  “Will we ever be able to teleport?” YouTube, 31 July 2017, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JMdO5KyjwAw.

 

Image source: https://www.bbvaopenmind.com/en/science/physics/teleportation-is-here-but-its-not-what-we-expected/

4 Comments

  1. Sick
    Future Antman possible?

  2. Thank you for the interesting article! 🙂

  3. Ahaha yes, this!! So glad you wrote an article on it 😂 That 4.8 million years? Maybe we should prepare to live that long 😉

  4. whoa… COOL!