A group of scientists at the Boulder, Colorado-based National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) announced that they were able to set a new world record in quantum teleportation – they managed to teleport quantum data 63 miles away, which is four times greater than the previous world record.
Researchers reported that they embedded quantum data into a particle of light also known as a photon and transferred it through a fiber-optic cable to another photon, located 63 miles (100 km) away.
NIST physicists are optimistic that the new feat is a first step towards a mind-boggling ‘quantum Internet’, which is more secure and a lot more faster than today’s world wide web.
Though teleportation may seem a concept pulled from a Sci-Fi flick, NIST team says that in quantum world teleportation is achievable and they have been working on it for nearly 11 years.
The team explained that quantum teleportation requires scientists to capture quantum states of an object,beam that data from point A to point B, and recreate the object in point B.
Quantum teleportation does not defy the laws of physics as Star Trek-like teleportation would. According to the theory, in quantum world, a single object can exist in two or more states at once.
Scientists based their method of teleportation on quantum entanglement, or a feature of particles to become bond to one another and influence each other despite the large distance between them.
On the other hand, researchers admitted that teleporting a human is a distant dream. So far, teleportation can only be applied to quantum information. And teleporting that information across longer distances could help scientists create a new type of Internet and unbreakable encryption methods.
Physicists explained that their latest experiment was made possible by NIST’s enhanced single-proton detector, which is the most accurate device of its kind in the world. But despite the state-of-the-art technology, only one percent of photons were successful in beaming the data through the 63-mile-long optic fiber.
“We never could have done this experiment without these new detectors, which can measure this incredibly weak signal,”
said Martin Stevens, a NIST researcher who was involved in the experiment.
According to Stevens, the NIST detectors have an 80 percent accuracy in detecting incoming photons. Other detectors can only detect 75 percent of photons. Additionally, the team was able to reduce by 10 times the amount of stray photons during teleportation.
In a previous experiment, another team was able to teleport quantum data from one place to another in open air. But researchers needed a pair of telescopes pointed at each other and a clear line of sight between them. Additionally, the experiment was performed at night because light could interfere with moving photons when teleportation occurs. So, the NIST team hopes that fiber optics could eliminate all these limitations.
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