Quantum teleportation of data is now a realistic possibility, says a study published Thursday by the journal Science.
Does this mean we’ll soon be able to apparate from place to place, Harry Potter-style? Sadly, no.
Physicists at the Kavli Institute of Nanoscience at the Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands were able to move quantum information between two quantum bits separated by about 10 feet without altering the spin state of an electron, reported the New York Times.
In other words, they were able to teleport data without changing it. Quantum information – physical information in a quantum state used to distinguish one thing from another --was moved from one quantum bit to another without any alterations. A quantum bit differs from the classical unit of information in computing in that it can have many simultaneous values, opening the possibility of faster and more secure systems.
Scientists were able to achieve teleportation “deterministically,” meaning it worked every time at this distance. Next, they will begin testing at larger distances, hoping to be successful when teleporting over more than a kilometer.
The findings from the study bring physicists one step closer to disproving Albert Einstein’s disbelief in the theory of quantum entanglement, which states that the quantum states of two particles remain connected even if they appear to have been spatially separated. That is, scientists were able to keep the particles “entangled” even after teleportation.
“There is a big race going on between five or six groups to prove Einstein wrong,” Ronald Hanson, a physicist who leads the group at Delft, told the New York Times. “There is one very big fish.”
So scientists have yet to develop a "Star Trek" transporter, but they are now a bit closer to saying, "Beam me up, Scotty."