Scientists find a way to teleport light
20th Apr 2011 | 14:32
Warning: contains quantum physics
Scientists have succeeded in teleporting wave packets of light with complex quantum make-up from one place to another for the first time.
Teleportation, long the dream of many motion-sickness sufferers and commuters, may have taken one step closer to reality but don't go reaching for your Bermuda shorts and sunnies just yet.
The researchers, hailing from Australia and Japan, managed to teleport the light by destroying it in one place and recreating it in another, meaning that these wave packets were "dead" and "alive" all at once.
Which, let's be frank, sounds even worse than flying cattle class.
Schrödinger would be proud
Of course, our first question was: how do they know it's the same light? Those clever science types were one step ahead as always: each packet of light has its own complex quantum information, which they kept track of during the teleport.
Professor Elanor Huntington from the University of New South Wales, explained, "One of the ways that we encode digital information is by its phase, so what we've done is created a wave packet that's simultaneously a one and a zero in its phase.
"Superposition is exactly what underlies the power of things like quantum computers. You enable parallel processing because at the same time it's a one and a zero. The point is, we've managed to teleport it from A to B without the one and the zero getting confused."
Well, at least the one and the zero aren't confused.
The new quantum leap has exciting implications for quantum computing in that high-speed, high-fidelity transmissions of large volumes of information could become possible.
"[Being able to transfer data packets like this] is a necessary thing to do in order to build a proper quantum computer or a quantum communications device," said Professor Huntington.
Okay, so high-speed data transfer is not as exciting as teleporting a person from London to Sydney in the blink of an eye or the possibility of creating a half-man-half-fly creature, but it is still a pretty amazing achievement.
"There used to be two ways of doing teleportation and both had their limitations," said Professor Elanor Huntington from the University of New South Wales.
"One was quite fast, but had a limited probability of succeeding. The other way of doing it was quite slow, but had a very good probability of working.
"What we've done is managed to get it both fast and good quality."
From Discovery News