Though quantum teleportation has existed for well over 10 years, it has never actually happened at a distance that would be of any use to people in the real world. But for the first time, Chinese researchers were able to teleport a quantum object nearly 100 kilometers, ramping up the real world applications for the idea.
According to Technology Review, the quantum teleportation does not involve dematerializing and then re-materializing physical matter, but rather using a photon to transmit the quantum state of one object to another, thus allowing the recipient to become a clone of the sender (think of it kind of like your consciousness inhabiting someone else's body).
Using a 1.3 watt laser, the scientists developed a guide mechanism that allows a photon to make it from point A to point B without getting lost. Satellite based quantum communications—which could be useful for quantum cryptography—are an application which scientists are particularly excited about. [Technology Review]
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