Quantum teleportation has been a reality since 2006. The process only occurred over very short distances, and not at all most of the time, until now.
A new device built by researchers at the Niels Bohr Institute in Copenhagen allows for teleportation of information over greater distances - and more reliably - than ever before possible.
The new device consists of two glass vessels containing cesium gas. They sit inside a chamber with a magnetic field. Although the two containers are not in contact with each other, it is possible to transmit information from one of the containers to the other.
The light particles from a laser aimed at the first container can become entangled (sychronized) with the atoms of gas. The laser makes the outermost electron shell in the cesium atoms align, either up or down. These two states can represent ones and zeros in order to transmit digital signals.
Light (and quantum information) produced from the excited atoms travels to the second vessel, where it is measured by a detector. That measurement is routed to the first container, where the electrons are modified in response to the signal. The information about conditions in the second container is encoded in the cesium atoms of the first, finishing the process.
However, because the atoms holding the quantum information are hitting each other and the container walls at 450 MPH, the information is quickly lost. The solution the team found to this problem was ingeniously simple.
"We use a coating of a kind of paraffin on the interior of the glass contains and it causes the gas atoms to not lose their coding, even if they bump into the glass wall," Eugene Polzik of the Niels Bohr Institute who heads the study, said.
This new quantum teleportation device uses a detector much more sensitive than earlier models, making the process reliable for the first time.It is also able to transmit information about a series of spin states in the gas cloud to atoms in the other container.
The new device is able to teleport information less than two feet, which is not even close to the longest distance yet accomplished, but Polzik is certain he could lengthen that separation - perhaps by quite a bit.
"[W]e could increase the range if we had the space and, in principle, we could teleport information, for example, to a satellite," Polzik said.
Quantum teleportation of information is an essential step on the road to developing quantum computers, which would be much faster and more powerful than today's systems.
The results of the research was published in Nature Physics.