Researchers in multiple locations around the globe have successfully teleported photons across distances greater than 100km. We aren’t ready to beam people up to the moon for a gravity-free lunar getaway just yet, but these recent breakthroughs are a monumental step in the right direction.
Just weeks after researchers in China quantumly teleported photons a distance of 100km, researchers from the University of Waterloo completed a similar teleportation near the Canary Islands over a distance of 143 km.
The technique used isn’t teleportation in the traditional Star Trek sense, it is an implementation of quantum entaglement. The photon being teleported isn’t moved anywhere. Essentially, its information is copied perfectly and instantaneously to another photon at an intended destination. Quantum entanglement allows us to send and receive information across seemingly impossible distances without any error or delay whatsoever.
Using a new laser technology that ensures the laser beam remains focused and does not disperse, scientists are paving the way for a global quantum network, the next evolutionary step of the internet. A quantum network
could form the backbone of an internet populated by quantum computers. In theory, each quantum processor/computer connected to the quantum network could be instantly linked to every other computer via an entangled pair of photons.
Quantum teleportation also redefines privacy. Because it is impossible to view an entangled particle, information that is entangled would be protected and guaranteed to be 100% secure. Quantum cryptography will replace password protection in the future.
In lieu of recent breakthroughs, Kirk’s classic catchphrase may need to be changed; “Entangle me up Scottie!”