Though we're a long way from jaunting to other planets, it's no longer simply pure science fiction. Researchers at the University of Innsbruck in Austria in collaboration with Daniel F. James of Los Alamos National Laboratory recently demonstrated quantum teleportation.
The first step in the process involved confining singly ionized calcium atoms and cooling them to a temperature around 15 millionths of a degree above absolute zero. Next, the team used lasers to precisely control the internal configurations of the atoms, or their quantum states, to create entanglement between two of the atoms. Entanglement refers to a peculiar quantum-mechanical link that can be created between two or more particles.
One of these entangled atoms was then further entangled with a third atom, the input of the teleporter. By performing a simple measurement on this pair and another series of interactions that depend on the outcome of the measurement, the original input state was recreated in the remaining (output) atom 8 µm away.
This is the first time researchers have achieved quantum teleportation with actual particles. Scientists say that this line of research could lead to quantum computers that are far more advanced than today's largest supercomputers. For more information, go to www.lanl.gov.