How quantum teleportation works

A team of physicists has successfully teleported a quantum state of a photon to a crystal over 25 kilometers away through a fiber optic cable.  This effectively proved that the photon’s quantum state is vital to the teleportation process, but not it’s composition.

Nicolas Gisin of the University of Geneva led the team and the results were published in a Science journal. Gisin and the rest of the team have successfully beaten the previous record set a decade ago – teleporting a quantum state of a proton 6 kilometers.

The quantum state of the photon can sustain information under extreme conditions, like becoming stored in the crystal like matter or difference between traveling as light. The photon’s state acts as information that can be teleported through long distances via the optical fiber and can be kept within the crystal.

This was accomplished due to a physical phenomenon in quantum known as entanglement, that occurs when pairs or groups of particles are generated, interact, or share spatial proximity in ways such that the quantum state of each particle cannot be described independently of the state of the other, even when the particles are separated by a large distance

To test this and ensure it was happening, one photon was sent along optical fiber while the other was stored in a crystal, over 25 kilometers of distance. The photon that was sent along the optical fiber strikes with a third photon, which was assumed that both would get destroyed. During the collision however, the information from the first photon was transferred to the third photon. The information came back from the third photon to the crystal where it could be measured to make sure the information was preserved between the first and the second.

The photon did not physically “teleport” as we frequently hear about in science fiction, where someone’s body can be moved from one place to another in a matter of seconds. Instead, the information contained on the now-distant photon can be contingent based on what is seen with the information in the photon in the crystal. However, further examinations need to take place on the information contained.

Félix Bussières, a member of of Gisin’s team explained that the quantum state of the two elements of light, these two entangled photons which are like two Siamese twins, is a channel that empowers the teleportation from light into matter. Regardless if the information was in light or crystal, there was no change to the information itself. It could very well mean that the quantum state rules in quantum physics.

Quantum entanglement is the basis for quantum communication and theoretical quantum computing, though it will take a very long time for these results to have real-world implications.

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