It is not a fully developed Start Trek technology ready to beam you and your dog to another planet, yet Chinese engineers have recently set a milestone for quantum teleportation, as reported in the international news.
By successfully pairing particles over a distance of 97km, scientists were able to transfer the state of one particle to another.
This process does not involve the same physical object disappearing and reappearing in a new location, but rather “quantum entanglement”, an event where particles act as one system despite being two separate entities.
In this experiment on teleportation, a photon transmitted its quantum state to another photon, which became a clone of the original.
Such a feat highlights the potential for instant data transfers, making the transfer more secure, and then giving government agencies a more improved way to transmit classified information.
“Our result represents an important step towards a global quantum network,” says the paper published by researchers from the University of Science and Technology of China in Shanghai.
Quantum entanglement in the lab, has been difficult for most scientists to study. The paired particles, known as ‘qubits’, can easily become untangled due to disturbences such as air turbulence, and other factors, and this risk increases over distance.
But this group of engineers claim to have overcome these challenges using a 1.3 watt laser to ensure the beam connecting the twin photons stays on target.
Using this technique, the team was able to “teleport” more than 1100 photons across a lake in China, smashing the previous record of 16km, which was set by a different group of Chinese researchers in 2010.
While full-scale teleportation of humans in the style of Star Trek may be some way off, this team of engineers already has its sights set on satellite-based cryptography.
“Our results show that even with high-loss ground to satellite up-link channels, quantum teleportation can be realised,” says the paper.
This procedure could provide super-secure communications all around the world.