Teleportation breakthrough

Quantum teleportation is the transmission of information from one particle to another, without a physical link, using quantum physics. Einstein famously described this as “spooky action at a distance”.

The process was first demonstrated by Austrian scientists in 1997, when the quantum state of a single photon was teleported across a table top. This was followed in 2004 by successful transmission over 600m (1968ft) from one side of the River Danube to the other.
Another breakthrough was made in 2010, when scientists at China’s University of Science and Technology sent photons over a distance of 10 miles (16 km).

Now, the same team has used quantum teleportation to send photons between two optical free-space links over a distance of 60 miles (97 km). The particles were beamed across Qinghai Lake, the largest lake in China.

In the future, perhaps a global network of satellite-based quantum cryptography will be developed, for ultra-secure communications. Using this method, it would be literally impossible for data to be intercepted en route. We may also witness teleportation of the first complex organic molecules (such as DNA and proteins), according to Michio Kaku.

Human teleportation is still a long, long way off however – if such a transportation method is even possible at all. According to a study by the US Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL), the information processing and transfer technology required may become possible in around 250 years, based on current trends.

The full report by the University of Science and Technology of China is available here.


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