Teleporting is a science fiction dream come true after scientists successfully sent information between two locations without moving anything between the places.
The technology is heavily relied on to move people and objects over large distances in science fiction movies and TV, such as Star Trek.
Now, scientists working on quantum physics have proved teleportation is a reality.
Recently, they shifted the information contained within a photon between two sites over 11 kilometres apart in Calgary, Canada.
Unlike the movie version, teleporting a human is likely to take some time to accomplish without massive strides in technology.
Quantum leap drawbacks
Quantum technology successfully worked by recreating an identical photon to the one containing the data in a lab on the other side of the city.
With humans, the quantum leap has two drawbacks:
- The original photon is destroyed as the second is created
- Humans are made up of more than 15 trillion cells, which is an awful lot of photons
Exactly how quantum teleportation works is still not completely understood.
Big brains like Einstein failed to get to grips with the theory even though they recognised the principles.
Teleporting involves entanglement. The principle shows how sub-atomic particles are linked even though separated by a large, physical distance.
A study in China ported a photon over 30 kilometres.
Faster than speed of light
Comparing quantum teleportation to science fiction is fun, but the two are not related.
Quantum teleportation describes switching information held in particles without sending the physical particle from one place to another.
The theory is this method can transport large quantities of data instantly, while cable or fibre optic communication is limited to the speed of light.
In theory, successful teleportation offs the basis for a quantum internet that instantly transports data across the planet – such as ultra-secure emails that reveal any attempt to read them by a hacker.
The problem to resolve is decoding and encoding the information packets at every node on a quantum network as these nodes are the places with the least security.
Another application is a quantum computer that performs calculations beyond the capabilities of today’s technology in fractions of a second.
But forget beaming up, down or anywhere else as quantum teleportation is a data only process.