If you are a fan of Star Trek, you can probably hear the teleportation sound effect of the Starship Enterprise sending its members to unexplored planets in your head as you read this. Star Trek has blessed fans with a lot of memorable moments that have since wedged their way into pop culture. Teleportation is just one of many.
Now it seems teleportation could become a real thing in the future, even if it may not be exactly the way Star Trek depicted it. Recently, scientists used the entanglement property of quantum mechanics to teleport matter. It may sound far fetched, especially because it was one of few scientific properties that even the great Albert Einstein didn’t think could work. However, for the first time in history, a particle has been successfully teleported. The experiment seems to be a major breakthrough that could quite possibly make history.
According to The Libertarian Public, scientists at the University of Calgary succeeded in transporting a particle close to four miles away from its original location. While this may not mean we’ll be teleporting to different planets with the push of a button anytime soon, it does mean that the way we use technology could drastically change very soon. To better explain why this finding is such a major this, Dr. Wolfgang Tittel from the University of Calgary explained via a press statement:
“Being entangled means that the two photons that form an entangled pair have properties that are linked regardless of how far the two are separated. When one of the photons was sent over to City Hall, it remained entangled with the photon that stayed at the University of Calgary. What happened is the instantaneous and disembodied transfer of the photon’s quantum state onto the remaining photon of the entangled pair, which is the one that remained six kilometres away at the university.”
Leonard Nimoy and Simon Pegg in Star Trek 2009 Star Trek One Step Closer to Reality as Scientists Successfully Teleport Particle
Don’t be too disappointed in this lack of world-jumping news, though. While the experiment won’t lead directly to teleportation of human beings, it does bring hope of a new way to revolutionize how we communicate digitally without fear of eavesdropping, information stealing, or spying. “Such a network will enable secure communication without having to worry about eavesdropping,” said Tittel, “and allow distant quantum computers to connect.“
In a current world where cyber security is constantly threatened, the University of Calgary’s finding’s could be huge. Imagine being able to engage in free speech and purchase things online without fear of being stalked, hacked, or robbed.
Of course, just like the recurring theme of Star Trek, revolutionary forms of science can definitely be used for evil. If a more developed form of this technology fell into the wrong hands, it could make for a dangerous situation in the future. It feels safe to be worry-free when it comes to cyber security, but what about criminals and cyber-terrorists of the future that could use a more developed form of computing teleportation for crime? Which side weighs heavier?
Star Trek: Discovery premieres May 2017 on CBS All Access
Scientists at the University of Calgary successfully teleported a particle nearly four miles away in a breakthrough experiment that could revolutionize the way computers function.
Researchers used the entanglement property of quantum mechanics, known as “spooky action at a distance,” to teleport a particle. It’s a scientific property not even the renowned Albert Einstein could come to terms with it.
“Being entangled means that the two photons that form an entangled pair have properties that are linked regardless of how far the two are separated,” Dr. Wolfgang Tittel, a physics professor at the University of Calgary who was involved in the research, said in a press statement. “When one of the photons was sent over to City Hall, it remained entangled with the photon that stayed at the University of Calgary. What happened is the instantaneous and disembodied transfer of the photon’s quantum state onto the remaining photon of the entangled pair, which is the one that remained six kilometres [slightly less than 4 miles] away at the university.”
To be successfully teleported, Tittel and other researchers needed to time the entanglement to within one millionth of one millionth of a second. This was the furthest distance any particle has ever been teleported.
Quantum teleportation of a particle isn’t quite “Star Trek,” but it has several possible applications for computing.
“Such a network will enable secure communication without having to worry about eavesdropping, and allow distant quantum computers to connect,” Tittel continued. Tittel’s team was able to “beam up” the particle using a special dark fibre cable.
China launched the world’s first quantum satellite in August. Due to a quantum communications suite that works on a similar principle, the satellite is effectively “hack proof.” Single synchronized quantum particles are indivisible, meaning that any information sent with them cannot be duplicated. Additionally, any intrusion by a third party into the particle would inadvertently trigger a data transmission collapse.
The research was financially supported by a grant from the Urban Alliance, an American nonprofit.