The Science Behind Teleportation

Imagine waking up 30 minutes before your 8:30 a.m. class. After rushing onto the train, it runs into a delay. There is no possible way for you to get to your class on time. This is all too familiar to the majority of CUNY students who commute to college.

Now picture the same scenario, but instead of rushing onto the train, you simply teleport into the classroom. Much simpler, right?

Though still widely regarded as science fiction, teleportation may become a reality in the future. Teleportation of subatomic particles is now possible through advancements in quantum physics: the study of energy and matter on a microscopic level.  

In the case of teleportation, quantum physics can be applied to transfer the physical state or the information of one particle to another. Scientists at the American technology corporation, International Business Machines Corporation (IBM), showed it was possible to teleport all the information contained within the particle rather than transporting the particles themselves – similar to relocating a completed puzzle.

Quantum entanglement says that particles vibrating in conjunction have a deep connection linking them like how the umbilical cord links a mother to its unborn child. Thus, even after the particles are separated, they continue to vibrate at the same wavelength. This allows for information to be easily transferred between the two particles on the microscopic level.

Back to the puzzle, once you finish putting it together in your living room, you realize you have to transfer the puzzle over to your bedroom. But in order to transfer your puzzle, you have to take apart the pieces and put them back together. This is how teleporting qubits works; there are two qubits with the same information, but only one exists at any given time.

Entanglement allows information to be sent in the form of a qubit – the quantum puzzle piece. However, the act of scanning the qubit would destroy the original object being teleported. Similarly, moving your puzzle from one location to another requires you to take apart the original puzzle. 

The most recent research study in the field was able to transmit qubits over 44 kilometers of fiber. Future advancements are expected to provide a foundation for high-speed quantum internet in the future.

The potential for scientists to teleport particles over large distances opens up a plethora of potential applications, including the advancement of medical imaging to help create organs and tissues, the creation of quantum computers, or even, human teleportation.

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