Information teleported over 100 km beats record by 75km
No, it’s not matter they have teleported but information encoded into particles of light. Sorry if you feel this is a bit of a let down but the record up until now was only 25 km. Although we are no closer to teleporting objects, people or animals this is an exciting break though in this particular technology. Why? Well, this could help in providing more secure and better quality internet connections.
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Researchers first proposed quantum teleportation around 20 years ago, and it relies on a phenomenon known as quantum entanglement, where two particles are inextricably linked, which means their states can only be defined by being the opposite of one another.
Because particles don’t have a defined state until they’re measured, this means that as soon as one particle is measured its state will be set, and this will instantly change the state of its entangled partner, even when they’re separated by great distances, resulting in super-fast communication.
In the past, researchers have managed to teleport information encoded in photons over greater distances than this through free space, but this experiment used optical fibre, which means that their technique could potentially be used to create a quantum Internet network, using existing infrastructure.
The experiment itself is a little hard to explain, but thankfully the researchers from the US National Institute of Standard and Technology have outlined their method in this easy-to-digest info-graphic.
So what does all of this mean for us playing along at home? This new teleportation technique could lead to devices call quantum repeaters. These would be like the repeaters we currently use in our networks, which receive a signal and then re-transmit it at a higher level, to make our information travel around the whole world.
A quantum repeater would do the same thing, but with quantum information, and they could potentially extend the reach far enough to build an entire “quantum Internet”, which would be faster, more efficient, and more secure than the networks we rely on today.
While we’re still a long way off building a whole network made up of entangled light particles, it’s a pretty great demonstration of the potential.
The results have been published in the journal Optica.