If we were to tell you that there is already a competition for the highest teleportation distance – that’s right: teleportation – going on, you’d probably call us crazy. But it’s true: teleportation at a quantum level already exists in 2012, and it’s become so common that people are competing against each other to see who can teleport quantum bits the farthest.
While teleportation in 2012 is not exactly up to Star Trek – level sophistication yet, it does in fact exist. But understanding it is a whole different prospect. Quantum physics has a tendency to get a little hazy with the casual science reader, and the idea of teleportation as a fairly common event is still a tough pill to swallow. But chin up: we’re here to bring you up to speed so you can understand what’s going on in the world of teleportation on 2012 Earth.
What Exactly is Getting Teleported?
If teleportation exists but we can’t teleport humans yet, that leaves a glaring question: exactly what are these scientific teams actually teleporting? For many people, the answer is a disappointment, because you can’t actually see what’s being teleported: subatomic particles, or quantum bits, that are so small that we can’t even see them with microscopes.
In a recent case, Chinese researchers transported photons across a lake. This achievement was then bested by a European team who transported quantum particles across the ocean between two islands off of the African continent. Though the European team bested the Chinese just a month later, the experiment itself was the result of more than a year of work and hoping for ideal weather conditions.
What kind of distances are these subatomic particles traveling? They’re now in the triple digits when measuring by meters – the Chinese team had gone to 100 meters while the European team added 50 more to that total.
How Do they Measure What’s Going On?
It’s tough to measure subatomic particles – you need some pretty fascinating equipment – but it can be done. The real challenge in measuring a teleportation of a subatomic particle is in measuring the speed at which the particle traveled. In other words, the trip needs to be instantaneous; if it’s even a few nanoseconds slower than that, it’s not a true teleportation.
They measure this by using subatomic particles to synchronize clocks to an absurdly accurate degree – accurate enough to estimate the instantaneousness of a teleported subatomic particle. Needless to say, if we can measure the flow of information to that degree, this kind of technology has a lot of implications for the future sharing of information. (For example, if you expect to receive information instantaneously, even a nanosecond of lag could indicate a security breach or some kind of technology problem).
Although teleportation only currently works on small scales, the implications of the technology as a whole are staggering. In 2012, we know how to teleport subatomic particles, and we can do it over surprisingly large distances; who’s to say that in the future, we won’t be teleporting people across those same distances?
Michael “Big Mike” McCaffery works with Go Dish, a company that provides dish internet services along with satellite television. Television – teleporting entertainment to you for decades.