Teleportation Breakthrough: Scientists Teleport Bits Of Light

Apr 18, 2011, 14:54 by Sarah Long

Scientists announced Thursday they have teleported special bits of light from one area to another, LiveScience reports.

The new advance could help physicists work toward extremely fast quantum computers and other applications that come from being able to manipulate things on the quantum scale.

"We are really learning how to manage the quantum world," Grangier said, as reported by LiveScience. "And this is a long and painful process, especially for experimentalists like me. All these things, just a few years ago they were just ideas. Now they are turning into experimental realities."

Researchers led by Noriyuki Lee of the University of Tokyo utilized a quirk of quantum physics called entanglement, in which two particles can be bonded so that even when separated by large distances, they communicate instantly, and what happens to one affects the other.

Lee and his team had to destroy the light in one place and re-create it in another. They accomplished this by linking a packet of light to one half of a pair of entangled particles. They then destroyed the light and the particle it was linked to, leaving only the lone particle of the entangled pair. The remaining particle retains the link with its entangled partner, though, including information about the light, which enabled the researchers to rebuild the light in the exact configuration at the other location.

This was not the first time physicists have teleported particles or light in this way. What differentiates the new research is that this time they teleported something much more complicated, LiveScience reports.

This teleported light was in Schrodinger's-cat state, a condition in which some properties of particles are not decided until an outsider forces them to choose by measuring them.

Grangier said that while the experiment was an advancement in physicists' abilities to both make complicated Schrodinger's-cat states in light and to teleport objects, it doesn't mean that anything more complicated can be teleported.

"There is not at present a way to teleport even a bacteria," Grangier told LiveScience. "For a real cat I don't think this will be possible in any possible future."