MessageToEagle.com - Teleportation experiments represent a crucial step toward future quantum networks
in space, which require space to ground quantum communication.
A few months ago, the Chinese physicists achieved a great progress by teleporting more than 1100 photons
over a distance of 97 kilometres in only four hours, but the
teleportation competition still continues.
Their achievement was soon followed by another one, when a team of European scientists at the Institute for Quantum
Optics and Quantum Information, in Vienna, Austria, led by physicist, Prof. Dr. Anton Zeilinger transferred the information stored on a
stream of photons from two locations separated by 143 kilometers (about 93 miles) apart.
Two teams of researchers have extended the reach of quantum teleportation to unprecedented lengths, roughly
equivalent to the distance between New York City and Philadelphia.
But don’t expect teleportation stations to replace airports or train terminals—the teleportation scheme shifts only
the quantum state of a single photon.
And although part of the transfer happens instantaneously, the steps required to read out the teleported quantum
state ensure that no information can be communicated faster than the speed of light, reports
Scientific American (John Matson, an associate editor at Scientific American focusing on space, physics and mathematics).
Quantum teleportation relies on the phenomenon of entanglement, through
which quantum particles share a fragile, invisible link across space.
Two entangled photons, for instance, can
have correlated, opposite polarization states—if one photon is vertically polarized, for instance, the other
must be horizontally polarized.
"Experiment was conducted between Alice's transmitter station at the Jacobus Kapteyn Telescope
(JKT) of the Isaac Newton Group on La Palma and Bob's receiver station at the Optical Ground Station
(OGS) of the European Space Agency on Tenerife, separated by 143 km, both at altitudes of about 2400 m."
But, thanks to the intricacies of quantum mechanics, each photon’s specific polarization remains undecided
until one of them is measured. At that instant the other photon’s polarization snaps into its opposing
orientation, even if many kilometers have come between the entangled pair.
An entangled photon pair serves as the intermediary in the standard teleportation scheme.
Say Alice wants to teleport the quantum state of a photon to Bob. First she takes one member of a pair
of entangled photons, and Bob takes the other.
Then Alice lets her entangled photon interfere with the photon to be teleported and performs a polarization
measurement whose outcome depends on the quantum state of both of her particles.
Chinese physicists achieved a great progress by teleporting more than 1100 photons over a distance
of 97 kilometres in only four hours
Because of the link between Alice and Bob forged by entanglement, Bob’s photon instantly feels the effect
of the measurement made by Alice. Bob’s photon assumes the quantum state of Alice’s original photon, but in
a sort of garbled form. Bob cannot recover the quantum state Alice wanted to teleport until he reverses that
garbling by tweaking his photon in a way that depends on the outcome of Alice’s measurement.
So he must await word from Alice about how to complete the teleportation—and that word cannot travel faster
than the speed of light. That restriction ensures that teleported information obeys the cosmic speed limit.
Even though teleportation does not allow superluminal communication, it does provide a detour around another
physics blockade known as the no-cloning theorem. That theorem states that one cannot perfectly copy a quantum
object to, for instance, send a facsimile to another person. But teleportation does not create a copy per se—it
simply shifts the quantum information from one place to another, destroying the original in the process.
Teleportation can also securely transmit quantum information even when Alice does not know where Bob is.
Bob can take his entangled particle wherever he pleases, and Alice can broadcast her instructions for how to
ungarble the teleported state over whatever conventional channels—radio waves, the Internet—she pleases.
That information would be useless to an eavesdropper without an entangled link to Alice.
All recent experiments represent a crucial step toward future guantum networks in space, which require space
to ground quantum communication
Teleportation, if one day successfully achieved, will be the basis of more-or-less perfectly secure
communication that can never be hacked, even in principle.
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