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article imageBreakthrough in Data Transfer Brings 'Star Trek Teleport' a Step Closer to Reality

By Chris V. Thangham     Jun 6, 2007 in Science
Scientists transport data over 89 miles, like the fictional Star Trek Transporter, without loss of data information. Is this just the beginning of instant teleportation?
Scientists have set a new record in sending information through thin air using the revolutionary technology of quantum teleportation -- although Spock may have to wait a little longer for a Scotty to beam him up with it.
A team of Viennese researchers have completed a successful experiment by teleporting data over a distance of 89 miles from the Canary Island of La Palma to the neighboring Island of Tenerfe. The previous record was a distance 10 times shorter.
The scientists did this via quantum entanglement theory. Albert Einstein described quantum entanglement as "spooky action at a distance" and it relies on the fact that two photons can be created in such a way that they behave as a single object, even if they are separated by large distances. The transmitting photon and the receiving photon end up behaving the same way. This is possible via a third photon. The transmitting photon reacts with the third photon, which takes its quantum information to the receiving photon by teleportation and transfers it. Thus any behavioral changes in the transmitting photon will cause similar changes in the receiving photon.
The scientists hope to send encrypted data by this way in the future.
The teleporters used in Star Trek are said to have been based on the idea of quantum entanglement, and the latest study demonstrates that elements of the phenomenon could have a practical use in the real world.
This quantum entanglement has been applied to simple forms of matter only, to transport humans and other living objects a different approach will be needed. So this teleportation is not as easy as it looks like in Star Trek.
Robert Ursin of the University of Vienna said this latest experiment could be used to communicate sensitive information via satellites. Quantum cryptography could effectively deploy an uncrackable security code.
Ursin said this will have a variety of applications in the future, especially in space where data can be transmitted. Their study was funded by the European Space Agency.
"We think Star Trek is really very good science fiction but I'm afraid teleporting people are not possible with current technology. But we could use some scheme to teleport information."
The study is published in the journal Nature Physics.
Another interesting discovery worth knowing about, since it has implications for future inventions.
More about Breakthrough, Star trek, Teleport
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