Teleportation Travel In Real Strides Using Quantum Computers

06/20/2012 01:24 PM ET

Even though Albert Einstein once said that teleportation couldn’t be done, Sidney Perkowitz say it’s real, and the Emory University physicist proves that on the atomic scale it has already been done through quantum computers.

In fact, the research is making strides. Just a couple years ago, scientists set a teleportation record of nearly 10 miles. They did not transport matter, though — rather, they teleported quantum information between photons.

The Huffington Post reports that among the many curiosities of quantum mechanical physics is that particles and even objects as big as tiny diamonds, researchers have discovered, can become “entangled.” That is, particles that have physically interacted are often linked in such a way that an action performed on one influences the other, regardless of the distance between them. Albert Einstein indelibly dubbed this bizarre phenomenon as “spooky action at a distance.”

The major problem is getting all the atoms in the right place. To match entangled particles (i.e., your body) at both ends of an intended transport, the quantum state of the original must be forwarded to the far end by everyday means of communication, such as a radio wave. In other words, you could not shoot information across vast interstellar distances in an instant.

“A transporter device would never transport you faster than the speed of light,” said Edward Farhi, director of the Massachusetts Institute of technology’s Center for Theoretical Physics.

Far more problematically, the second half of an entangled particle pair (or pairs) would also have to arrive at its destination before the teleportation procedure could occur. In other words, for Captain Kirk to beam down to a planet’s surface via quantum teleportation, all the requisite atoms to re-make him would have to be allocated there anyway.

“There’s no free lunch here,” said Farhi. “You have to send the whole set of particles that constitute the thing that you want to be teleported.”

“Star Trek” transporters do not employ this sort of transmitter and receiver setup; instead, Kirk just steps onto a transporter pad and away he goes, rematerializing at his destination. “You would have to have two pieces of equipment in place – an entanglement generator in point A and an entanglement receiver in point B,” said Perkowitz.

These requirements, of course, largely defeat the purpose of using a transporter over conventional means of travel in the first place.

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