Teleportation is no longer the stuff of science fiction novels. In the 1990’s teleportation using quantum physics was only a dream for scientists. But since then, scientist have begun to use a process of teleportation in quantum optics labs around the world.
What is Teleportation
When we hear the word teleportation, we may see images of Star Trek or hear “beam me up, Scotty.” The real life process of teleportation does not resemble the television experience we are familiar with.
Quantum teleportation requires quantum entanglement. Things get a little confusing here. Quantum entanglement is “a situation in which one set of quantum objects (such as photons) form at the same instant and point in space. In this way, they share the same existence. This shared existence continues even when the photons are separated — meaning a measurement on one immediately influences the state of the other, regardless of the distance between them.” according to Business Insider.
Once this quantum link occurs, it can be used to transmit quantum information “downloading” information from one photon over an entangled link to another. That is what real life teleportation looks like. Not quite as dramatic as beaming to your favorite pizza place, but scientifically amazing.
Chinese Researchers Make a Teleportation Leap
Scientists in China have moved this discovery forward. These researchers successfully teleported a photon from Earth to a satellite orbiting 311 miles away.
This was the first time an object was teleported from the ground into orbit. It was also the first time a satellite to ground quantum network was created, setting the record for the longest distance for which entanglement has been measured.
The Chinese research team spoke with the MIT Technology Review saying, “Long-distance teleportation has been recognized as a fundamental element in protocols such as large-scale quantum networks and distributed quantum computation. Previous teleportation experiments between distant locations were limited to a distance on the order of 100 kilometers, due to photon loss in optical fibers or terrestrial free-space channels.”