Scientists teleport info 90 miles across islands

Quantum teleportation is reaching greater distances, and hopes are high that satellites will be able to use the technology.

The European Space Agency's Optical Ground Station in the Canary Islands. ESA

If only we were quantum states, we'd be playing Kirk and Scotty, popping around the universe until the inevitable failure in the transporter circuits.

European and Canadian scientists are pushing the envelope on quantum teleportation after having succeeded in beaming quantum states across some 90 miles in the Canary Islands.

The laser-locked telescopes on the islands of La Palma and Tenerife served as transporter rooms, teleporting information about the state of a pair of "entangled" particles.

The entanglement links the particles such that a change in one is registered in the other despite great distances between them.

Quantum teleportation was first demonstrated in 1997, but distances are growing longer. A Chinese team of researchers also reported teleporting quantum states across a significant distance, 60 miles, in the journal Nature this month.

While quantum teleportation is subject to the cosmic speed limit, the speed of light, the technology could be harnessed to create satellite communications networks that are super-secure.

Eavesdropping on such transmissions would instantly alter them, so quantum satellites are being explored as a means to securely send military transmissions or even distribute films.

"Our work proves the feasibility of both ground-based and satellite-based free-space quantum teleportation," the European authors write. "Our experiment represents a crucial step toward future quantum networks in space, which require space to ground quantum communication."

(Via Scientific American)

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