In our collective imagination, teleportation has always seemed like the logical step after flying cars. But scientists' recent success in teleporting information between photons ten miles apart makes it seem like we might just leapfrog those flying jalopies altogether.

Let's get one important point out of the way up front: quantum teleportation is not exactly what you saw in Star Trek. It doesn't actually involve moving matter from one place to another but rather transferring the state of one object to another object—in this case, photons.


It all works through entanglement. Here, the two entangled photons essentially become connected by an invisible thread, and whatever is done to one is immediately reflected in the other. Scientists have been able to teleport information across short distances, say a few meters, for some time. But ten miles is a lot longer than a few meters, and the feat is being considered a huge teleportation breakthrough. I'm just glad that we're making teleportation breakthroughs to begin with.

Scientists envision a future in which quantum teleportation will allow us to beam data from place to place without the need for a traditional signal, if not zapping you to the deck of the Enterprise. We might need those flying cars after all. [Ars Technica via PopSci]

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