Quantum Teleportation Distance Records Quadrupled

Quantum Teleportation (theoryserum)

Quantum Teleportation (theoryserum)

Quantum Teleportation Distance Records Quadrupled

Scientists with the National Institute of Standards and Technology have just released details of a new distance record set in the quantum teleportation of photons. The record of 15.5 miles set last year was just shattered by the Institute with a record-breaking distance of 63 miles—over four times that of previous attempts.

Star Trek Transporter Room (CBS)

Star Trek Transporter Room (CBS)

Not Your Star Trek Teleporters

Before science fiction fans get excited, the methods of quantum teleportation are quite a bit different from the fictional Star Trek Transporters, ‘beaming’ objects from point A to point B. Quantum teleportation in this sense works by sending information–qubits–down a fiber-optic pipeline. This might not sound exciting, but the possibilities for information transmission are unparalleled in terms of speed in comparison to today’s methods. In other words, solving issues with quantum data transmission could ultimately transform our idea of how we communicate data over the internet and other information networks. Some say that quantum networks might even be more secure, with encryption purported to be “virtually impenetrable” to hackers, by shaping individual photons like a physical “lock and key” system.

Still, could it ever be possible to teleport data without a cable, or a living object successfully from Point A to B?

This gets a little complicated. First, let’s explore the concept of quantum entanglement.


Human Teleportation?

Having watched this video if you weren’t previously aware of the concept of quantum entanglement, your mind is probably racing. Faster than light travel? It sounds like we could just ‘beam’ humans across space, already!

Based on observations in physics, it certainly sounds like we could simply transmit the encoded current quantum state of a human being and over a network, but there’s just one problem:

Instead of working with a single photon over a fiber optic network, we’re talking the equivalent of 7 OCTILLION atoms to account for (written out, this look like: 7,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000).

In other words, the behavior of microscopic objects (like photons) versus macroscopic objects (like humans) are different, in that within the macroscope, you have seven billion-billion-billion microscopic objects competing with one another for quantum entanglement. According to physicists like Neil deGrasse Tyson, this is a great problem—because what we can see is merely the average of these states in larger forms.

Science Still a Long Way Away

Fiber-optic transmission of quantum data only sits at around a 25% rate of success. This is categorically bad, as one might imagine. Dropping bits of data could be disastrous for communications, and certainly an ineffective means of encryption for powers-that-be to do business. Imagine now, if we were transmitting larger, macro-scale objects. The results could be devastating. There’s also the problem that ‘faster than light’ travel of quantum information is limited by our own network technology; you just can’t transmit data that fast over existing fiber-optic networks.

What do you think of quantum teleportation in data communications? Do you think we’ll ever figure out how to transport solid objects from one place to another? Like to see more articles about physics? Join us in the discussion! Comment, Share on Facebook and find us on Twitter, hashtag #DMTalk!

Staff Writer

Leo Ashcraft

A retired broadcast engineer, talk show host, news reporter - I have done everything there is to do in the radio broadcast business. I worked a year in television. I left that as my true passion has always been radio - plus I got tired of hearing - you have a face for radio.. I hope you enjoy my articles! Be sure to share them excessively on facebook - like our page and bug your friends with invites!

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