Teleportation. It sounds like something out of a futuristic science fiction movie. An unobtainable and glamorous form of transport.
Yet as recently as this week, Chinese researchers have proved teleportation is achievable. Making all our nerdy sci-fi dreams come true.
Unlike our favourite sci-fi movies, the reality of the process is far less Hollywood.
Quantum states are almost completely unknown, therefore making it impossible to copy. However, if you destroy the particle you can transfer the unknown quantum state on a different particle. And the new particle will essentially mirror the previous particle.
In order for the quantum internet to work to its fullest and allow quantum computers to interact with each other, quantum teleportation is crucial.
Quantum computers are essentially computers that use the laws of quantum mechanics to solve problems faster and better than any computer humans can build. There are still a few bugs in the system to make the computer completely feasible. But this research is a step towards better understanding quantum communication. The research team explains their findings in their paper:
Long-distance teleportation has been recognised as a fundamental element in protocols such as large-scale quantum networks and distributed quantum computation. However, the previous teleportation experiments between distant locations were limited to a distance on the order of 100 kilometres, due to photon loss in optical fibres or terrestrial free-space channels.
Quantum communication is when two particles stimulate each other simultaneously regardless of distance. Entangled particles share their quantum state, so the two particles aren’t considered singular entities.
This entanglement is extremely valuable and extremely fragile. The Quantum state can be easily snapped and if this happens the two particles will split into two singular particles again. That’s why it’s been such a difficult task to send the quantum states over air or through fibre optics.
We still have a long way to go before a stable quantum communication network can go global. For this, as the research outlines we need quantum satellites.