The teleportation setup at Professor Akira Furusawa’s lab at the University of Tokyo
Beam me up, Scotty; scientists have finally done it! Using what looks like an incredibly complicated setup, scientists have not just figured out how to transport information using the quantum highway; they have actually made it happen.
In the past, such teleportation experiments were either slow, or there was information loss in the process. This new experiment procedure eliminated both of those concerns; the team transported a “cat”–Schrödinger’s cat to be exact. No, it wasn’t a real cat, but instead were wave packets of light which represented Schrödinger’s cat, a paradox in which something has two states at the same time (the cat is both living and dead)–a condition called called quantum superposition. Quantum computers work (or will work) by storing data as quibits which can represent one and zero at the same time; this would allow them to solve multiple problems simultaneously.
To do this, the researchers developed a “broadband, zero-dispersion teleportation apparatus” and a whole new set of “hybrid protocols involving discrete- and continuous-variable techniques in quantum information processing for optical sciences,” along with some other things that I completely do not understand. In the end, the researchers managed to ‘remove’ the quantum information from space, and it was resurrected in another place.
Not only did the “quantum information” exist in a state of quantum superposition, but the transfer was quick. Check Science (you’ll need a membership or you’ll have to pay for the article) to get all the nitty-gritty details!
The research was led by University of Tokyo researchers from the Department of Applied Physics, with some intercontinental assistance from the Centre for Quantum Computation and Communication Technology at the University of New South Wales.
Elanor Huntington, a professor at the University of New South Wales who participated in the study, says that “one of the limitations of high-speed quantum communication at present is that some detail is lost during the teleportation process. It’s the Star Trek equivalent of beaming the crew down to a planet and having their organs disappear or materialise in the wrong place. We’re talking about information but the principle is the same–it allows us to guarantee the integrity of transmission.”
Is she saying that not only will we be able to transport information on a global scale almost instantly but that we might also be able to transport objects? It sure sounds like it.
Huntington goes on to say, “If we can do this, we can do just about any form of communication needed for any quantum technology.” In other words, quantum computing is just around the corner!
Personally, I am very excited for this new discovery. Just by looking at the picture above you can see the insane amount of effort and intelligence that must have gone into producing this study. In other words, the future is bright for humanity!