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Chinese scientists advance teleportation technology

A group of Chinese researchers have crushed the previous teleportation record using a newly invented steering device.
Credit: Bethany Clarke

A group of Chinese researchers claim they have successfully teleported photons 60 miles.

In the group's abstract they note that teleportation isn't exactly new. "In the laboratory, quantum teleportation has been demonstrated over short distance by photonic and atomic qubits. Using fiber links, quantum teleportation has been achieved over kilometer distances. Long distance quantum teleportation is of particular interest and has been one of the holy grails of practical quantum communication." pointed out, "When researchers teleport a photon, they aren’t teleporting the actual photon, but rather the information contained in it through quantum entanglement. In essence, the second photon at the end of the teleport becomes the first one – or at least, it becomes an identical qubit of information." 

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Technology review said there are several practical uses for teleportation, one if which is the ability to send coded messages adding, "Because teleported information does not travel through the intervening space, it cannot be secretly accessed by an eavesdropper."

The previous distance record for teleportation was set in 2010. The record was a mere 16 kilometers, or a little under 10 miles. 

The reason the new distance is so remarkable is because prior to this experiment the main issue with photon teleportation was beam widening. According to Technology Review, as the beam travels, it spreads out and many of the photons miss the end target altogether.

The Chinese research team accounted for this and invented a steering mechanism which they used to guide the laser to keep the photons precisely on target. 

The research group believed this invention would be the most prolific finding from their research adding in their abstract, "The high-frequency and high-accuracy acquiring, pointing and tracking (APT) technique developed in our experiment can be directly utilized for future satellite-based quantum communication."

Maybe soon we will all be saying, "Beam me up, Scotty."

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