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Communications Science Technology

Scientists "Teleport" Quantum Information One Meter 107

the4thdimension writes "While we may not be beaming up to the Enterprise anytime soon, a team of scientists from the University of Maryland and the University of Michigan have managed to teleport information between two atoms up to a meter apart. Until this point, only very tiny distances were able to be traveled. However, using a complicated system of photons, ions, lasers, and electromagnetics, scientists have managed to 'teleport' information contained on one atom to another atom that is in a separate sealed container. This can lead to a wide range of developments in computing and communications." Update: 01/29 22:29 GMT by T : Sorry, it's a dupe, but today's article in Time is better reading than the abstract anyhow.
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Scientists "Teleport" Quantum Information One Meter

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  • Discussed A Week Ago (Score:5, Informative)

    by eldavojohn ( 898314 ) * <eldavojohnNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Thursday January 29, 2009 @06:13PM (#26659465) Journal
    I think we discussed this a week ago [slashdot.org].
  • I hope at least one scientist in that lab had the balls to shout "Beam me up Scotty!!!" during the experiment
  • Is this really new? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Hogwash McFly ( 678207 ) on Thursday January 29, 2009 @06:23PM (#26659583)

    I watched a BBC documentary 'Visions of the Future' online a couple of days ago, and a team in Vienna had already teleported information between photons years ago. See here [google.com], about 50 minutes in. (I recommend watching all three programmes, it's an interesting documentary). The professor in the video states that the record stands at 600 metres. I'm no physicist, so could someone explain what is so different about what has been achieved in the article? Is the difference between teleporting information between photons and atoms so distinct?

    • Re: (Score:1, Flamebait)

      by davester666 ( 731373 )

      Um, this was done in the US. Therefore it is newsworthy. QED

    • by Cyberax ( 705495 ) on Thursday January 29, 2009 @07:25PM (#26660359)

      It's easy to teleport photons - it's the basis of quantum cryptography for which we now even have commercial applications. I believe current record is about 1000km.

      However, in this experiment scientists have teleported the state of an _atom_ using photons as intermediary quantum information carriers.

      • by lgw ( 121541 )

        If you're talking about the existing product, the basis of "quantum" "cryptography" is shining a really dim light (or perhaps selling your product to a really dim bulb). There's more marketing buzzward than truth in both the "quantum" and the "cryptography", and further it doesn't actually solve any problems.

        Of course, scifi quantum crypto is very cool, but then so is setting phasers on stun.

        • by frieko ( 855745 )
          What isn't quantum about exchanging quanta of light, and what isn't cryptography about computing a shared secret?
          • by lgw ( 121541 )

            Well, every fiber network exchanges quanta of light. The thing is, the products sold as "quantum cryptography" don't use anything related to quantum mechanics to exchange data - no entangled particles or anything like that. That's the spin, but not the product. This product is a load of crap.

            Engineer: We have eavesdroppers physically tapping our cables, can you help us?

            Salesdroid: I have just the thing: Quantum Cryptography make eavesdropping impossible.

            E: Do Tell.

            S: We encode each bit as a single photon

            • by frieko ( 855745 )

              E: That sounds cool! But wait, how do *we* know whether to read the polarity or frequency of a given bit?

              S: Oh, no problem, you send that information ahead of time on another channel!

              Ah, that's where you're confused. You reveal the basis vectors AFTER, not before. And you reveal them publicly, perhaps via radio broadcast, NOT over a secure line.

              You can't store and forward because you don't know which basis to store!

              • by lgw ( 121541 )

                Wow, I can't even tell whether you're continuing the joke.

                How does the reciever work when a photon comes in if it doesn't know what to measure? It stores the data that cannot be stored until later?

                • by frieko ( 855745 )
                  That's really how it works. For each bit you just randomly pick a basis and measure it. Later the sender announces the true basis and if you measured the wrong one then you just throw that bit away.

                  Remember, this is cryptographic key exchange, not encryption. We already have a perfectly unbreakable cipher, one-time-pad. QC solves the problem of coming up with the pad itself.

                  I suggest you RTFWA [wikipedia.org] rather than argue further.
                  • by lgw ( 121541 )

                    Yeah, if the attacker simply cannot be a man-in-the-middle on the "open" channel, he would gain nothing man-in-the-middle on the "quantum" channel. Better than nothing, I guess, but it would seem hard to arrange that in the real world, since the attacker is already inside your datacenter (or you don't need this in the first place). Hope no one invents a polarization-preserving photomultiplier!

                    Much like people feel that https is secure, when in the real world it's vulnerable to (demonstrated) attacks on th

                    • by frieko ( 855745 )
                      In any case, I do agree that it's not worth the money. Not because it's snake oil but because non-quantum computing will probably never break RSA. And if it turns out that entangling qubits to each other is exponentially difficult, then RSA should be able to keep well ahead of those as well.
        • Of course, scifi quantum crypto is very cool, but then so is setting phasers on "evaporate the bitch".

          Fixed. "Stun" is for pussies.

          • What about all the other phaser settings ? "Limp," "Bit of a Cough," "Depression," "Bad Eyesight," "Ice Cream Van Nearby," "Sudden Interest In Botany," "Water In The Ear After Swimming," "Left The Oven On At Home."
          • by lgw ( 121541 )

            You're missing the point: phasers are for pussies. "Set disruptors on mutilate."

    • Yeah it's new. It's the first time they've teleported quantum information between entangled atoms over this distance. I guess it's harder than doing it with photons due to... mass? Certainly it's not like you take the exact same setup you use to do photon teleportation, and it just works -- bamf! -- on atoms.

      So it's nothing really 'new' in the sense that it's the same ol' teleporting-information-but-no-information-you-can-use trick just with a matter instead of energy. It's definitely something new in t

    • by tenco ( 773732 )
      It's explained in last weeks story.
  • not news (Score:2, Funny)

    by jecowa ( 1152159 )
    I've been "teleporting" information several yards ever since I got a wireless router.
  • by Timesprout ( 579035 ) on Thursday January 29, 2009 @06:30PM (#26659679)
    I posted it in the origial thread and it appears in the dupe thread.

    BTW I am patenting 'Teleposting' as I like to call it.
  • The teleported information arrived turned inside out.

    It took 8 hours for a Hazmat team to clean up the walls, floor, ceiling and scientists.

  • Seriously... from the title of the article: "Teleportation Is Real" (picture from Startrek).

    From the article: "For scientists, it's [teleportation] just very, very complex, so much so that at this point, teleportation is not a matter of moving matter but one of transporting information."

    Substance of article: "It doesn't work reliably, but might be useful for not-yet-existing computers".

    While this is interesting, I can't help but thinking that more to-the-point article about the real achievements of this gro

    • by nine-times ( 778537 ) <nine.times@gmail.com> on Thursday January 29, 2009 @06:48PM (#26659861) Homepage

      Yeah, it seems like every so often, there's another story in the media that "teleportation has been achieved," or "we can make things invisible," or "scientists have made light go faster than light." They go on to explain all the great things we could do if we could teleport things, go faster than light, and make things invisible.

      Then, down near the bottom somewhere, they finally explain that no, we're not talking about real teleportation, but rather quantum entanglement that can't really be used for communication. We're not talking about real faster-than-light travel, but making a light wave that sort of looks like it's going faster than light but isn't. We're talking about something that might be useful for stealth airplanes, making them invisible to radar, and not real invisibility. Stuff like that.

      And then they tag some throw-away line at the end like, "But who knows, maybe we'll be able to teleport to the moon next year!"

      I hate journalists.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        I hate journalists.

        While I agree with you, it is one way of cathing the public's eye. Journalists want to make headlines, when they can't, they make up headlines remotely tangential to whatever material they've got.

        My beef is with the Slashdot editors; when I started reading Slashdot, it was because the editors chose interesting stories. They still do, this is interesting, but they choose to present this particular mainstream article as the only link in their ingress as documentation and background inform

      • by radtea ( 464814 )

        Then, down near the bottom somewhere, they finally explain that no, we're not talking about real teleportation

        While I agree with the thrust of your complaint and share your hatred of journalists, I'm at least happy to see that both the recent /. stories on this have prominently featured the word "INFORMATION" as the 'thing' teleported. It still isn't quite correct, as 'information' in the ordinary sense of the term carries more ontological weight than 'quantum state' but it is a huge improvement over the u

        • Perhaps those of you in this thread who hate journalists so much should make efforts to give scientists some media training so that when they are interviewed, they speak in clear language, not jargon.

          Yes, it's the journalist's job to be clear and accurate, but it's pretty damn difficult when the interview subject spews out line after line of technobabble only meaningful to another scientist.

          Also, don't blame journalists for trying (sometimes succeeding, sometimes failing) to spice things up and present sc

          • by radtea ( 464814 )

            Also, don't blame journalists

            In the past I've actually been far harder on scientists than journalists with regard to the use of "teleportation" as a term of art, which I consider to be misleading to the point of dishonesty.

            But I have also seen too many cases where scientists have done their best to describe their work in fair terms only to see journalists (or their editors) mangle the resulting story almost beyond recognition. A colleague once came into work and said, "There were five stories in the scienc

      • I hate to contradict a good rant, but in actuality, this "teleportation" can be used for communication.

        Here's the experiment, without all the theory:

        1. Put the atom A into the state you want to teleport to B. Let's call the two states "red" or "blue". Put atom B into a "known" state.

        2. "Stimulate" both atoms so they will fire off a photon. The photon from each will either be a "red" type or "blue" type, but we won't know which (that's important).

        3. Both photons "meet" in a beam splitter, then go to separate

        • ...operate on A and measure it. Depending on the A measurement, apply one of two operations on B.

          Doesn't that require a separate channel of communication, or am I misunderstanding? What I mean is, if you have to know A's state before you know what to do with B, then won't whoever measures A to then signal someone at B as to what operation to perform?

          Not that I really understand your post, but it was my understanding that quantum entanglement couldn't be used for "communication" in the sense that people usually hope (faster than light communication).

          • No, it wouldn't be good for faster than light communication. But it could be used for secure communication, or implementing a "shift" register in a quantum computer. The separate line of communication doesn't pass information about the initial state of A, just its final measurement, which actually says nothing about it's initial state to anyone or anything except ion B. And, because we're talking about quantum mechanics, A's initial quantum state could be a superposition of states, not just "0" or "1".


            • I see.

              When I said, "can't really be used for communication," I was trying to refer to faster-than-light communication. It seems to me when most people talk about "teleportation," the first hope is to actually deconstruct a physical object in one place while instantaneously reconstructing it in another. Then when it's explained that "no, we're talking about quantum entanglement and teleporting information," the hope usually turns into the idea that you would alter the state of one entangled particle in a

    • It doesn't work reliably, but might be useful for not-yet-existing computers

      Kind of blows the whole concept of bandwidth out of the water, doesn't it? When you can instantly duplicate bits of information to a machine at any location...

      • Kind of blows the whole concept of bandwidth out of the water, doesn't it? When you can instantly duplicate bits of information to a machine at any location...

        "Oh my gosh, you solved their problem. They can achieve 90%, you only need to implement an error correcting algorithm capable of handling 10% of error, and you have achieved instant information transmission!".
        No, really, I find their results intriguing, but that was not my point at all :)

  • Sorry, it's a dupe...

  • Didn't they read the c'eth commandment ?

    Thou shalt not teleport information from 1 atom to another atom at a speed greater than thy Lord hath deemed forbidden[1] lest thou wishes to kill thy grandfather before thou art born - and create earth engulfing black holes in the process[2].

    Fools ! we are doomed !


    [1] Ok.. I didn't read TA.. so what ?
    [2] That's last sentence is not in the original text - consider this creative license.

  • past tense for old (repeated) news. Scientists "Teleported" Quantum Information One Meter.
  • ...can teleport his entire genetic code several inches. Oh look, there goes an acrobat!

  • I'm sorry, but I'm fairly certain that the University of Maryland and the University of Michigan are just a little more than one meter apart. I call shenanigans.
    • Only in the common three spatial dimensions. They're pretty much right on top of each other in the 5th and 6th dimensions, which results in all kinds of practical jokes going on between their physics departments.

  • If I post a comment on last weeks article, will it also show up on this weeks article?

    • by ivan_w ( 1115485 )

      If that particular post was posted on last week's article, then you may claim success !


    • by Samah ( 729132 )

      If I post a comment on last weeks article, will it also show up on this weeks article?

      More to the point, if you post a comment on this week's article, will it travel back in time to last week's article?

      • And what if I post the same post that I posted last week? Could I then travel back in time? or from the past to the present?
  • I'm wondering, if this process uses entanglement how does that work with the No Communication Theorem? I thought that entanglement could not actually transfer useful information.
  • but today's article in Time is better reading than the abstract anyhow.

    Indeed. Why read the article written by the guy who understands it when you can read the article written in someone's spare time when he's not covering Britney?

  • Why the quotes around "teleport"? Either they can do it or they can't. If they can, then remove the quotes. If they can't, use a different word.
  • i see one problem with this 1 lightyear = 9.4605284 Ã-- 1015 meters and the technology used to tell scientists have if this was "teloported" have to take a measure of a unit of time that is so small my calculator (the one that comes with windows) and my TI-84-SE can't calculate how small it is. how can we say it has "teloported" if we can't measure the time it takes to get from point A to point B if the smallest measure of time we have is greater then the time it takes get from point A to point B

    • Teleportation at the speed of light would take 3.3 ns (3.3e-9 seconds) to cover a distance of 1m. This is certainly measurable. However no time difference has been measured in this experiment because the teleportation is instantaneous.
      • I can recognize your words individually, but they appear to me to make no sense whatsoever.

        Specifically, what is this "instantaneous" of which you speak? You seem to be saying that two events happen at the same time but in different places.

        Unless you want to throw out the entire theory of relativity, you mean one of two things. Either you mean that they happen at the same time in some certain reference frame, or you mean the events have spacelike separation and nothing more.

        Will somebody please tell

  • Teleportation requires dematerializing one object, and rematerializing it at another location.

    Here we have two atoms, which totally inherit each others information at the speed of light.

    Am I the only one who thought teleportation is instantaneous and requires only a single entity?
  • Hopefully there's no Dr. Gordon Freeman or Eli Vance associated with this research...

  • One of the thoughts that's crossed my mind as we further explore and understand utilization of quantum information is that if there is sentient beings "Out There" with some level of capability for space exploration is that it would seem that this would be a very likely way for them to maintain communication. Efforts such as SETI would then be attempting to discover background noise (I use the term "noise" here more as commentary on what most of what we communicate tends to be)of civilizations no more advanc
  • http://www.quantum.at/research/quantum-cryptography/quantum-secured-bank-transfer.html

    was over 1KM in distance of encrypted protocol over spooky action at a distance, hence instantaneous. Why are we writing about 1 atom over 1 meter?

    Is there any way to stop propagating garbage news?

  • "Spooky motion at a distance" has been a quantum physics tenent for over a decade
    • Except that it's called "spooky action at a distance," and the other word you're looking for is tenet.

      Also, the phenomenon has been known for way more than a decade -- Einstein is the person who coined the term "spooky action at a distance." He died in 1955, which is over 5 decades ago.

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