An article in the "American Journal of Science" says scientists have successfully teleported information between two atoms.
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All it took was zapping them for a few picoseconds with laser pulses while they were trapped in a vacuum that was surrounded by metal electrodes and an invisible cage of electromagnetic fields. Sound wacky? Well, it is quantum mechanics.
Before you start singing, "Beam me up, Scotty," listen to "The Takeaway's" favorite physicist Brian Greene -- professor of mathematics and physics at Columbia University -- talk teleportation.
Dr. Greene gives an example of how quantum teleportation works: "If you have a pair of dice, you throw one in Las Vegas and the other in Atlantic City, you expect the numbers to come up randomly ... if you have a pair of quantum dice and you throw them exactly the same way, they can be set up so that if it comes out '1' in Las Vegas, it'll come out '1' in Atlantic City ... they correlate their behaviors without there being any communications in any conventional sense between them."
Quantum theory suggests that matter is actually interacting in a way that doesn't require space, and if that's the case, we can somehow utilize that interaction as a way to go from here to there without having to travel.
"Space is not what we think it is. Space is normally that which creates separation and independence. Quantum physics can bridge space in a way where objects that are far apart act as though they are next to each other."
The article in the "Journal of Science" suggests a way in which distant pieces of matter can use this quantum network to get from point 'A' to point 'B.'
"There are previous works which already show this phenomena of quantum teleportation, where distant objects make use of this connection to allow information to go from place to place, instantaneously. This paper shows that you can do it with atoms; where previously it was really done with photons, or individual particles like electrons. It scales it up, and it also makes the distance between the objects larger. Previously it had been done for objects quite close together; these atoms are a meter apart, which on a scale of atoms, is huge ... that's like a universe."
But don't plan on getting teleported to Hawaii any time soon -- Dr. Green is doubtful it could work with a whole person: "If you can teleport information that's stored in an atom to another distant atom, can you scale it up and really do what they did in Star Trek? Can you beam Kirk from the planet, and unfortunately, I just don't see any way in which these approaches can be scaled up to the level of people -- that's just too complicated."
Read more about the "Journal of Science" article.
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