Quantum Teleportation Achieved Across 10 Miles

Illustration for article titled Quantum Teleportation Achieved Across 10 Miles

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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(Raises hand)

I have a question.

My (very limited) understanding of entanglement is this; you have 2 entangled particles. When you spin one of them, the other one spins in exactly the same way at exactly the same time no matter the distance between them.

Now, obviously, this makes them ideal for communicating information across large distances.

The other cool thing I know about physics is that if you put a guy in a spaceship and he travels very fast for a very long time and then comes back again, everything on Earth will have aged at a much faster rate than him. He will essentially have travelled forward in time.

Now, my question...

If we have 2 entangled particles and we make one travel very fast for a while so that it essentially travels forward in time, what happens when we spin each one?

If I understand correctly, by spinning the one that travelled, the other one (which stayed still) will spin at some point in the future.

Even cooler than that, by spinning the one that stayed still, the one that travelled will spin in the past (but not before the travelling started).

What you have there is a way of sending messages to the past.

Can someone who knows something about physics comment on this?