Star Trek-like teleportation possible as China teleports ‘Photon’ 500 Km into space
If you are a fan of Gene Roddenberry’s Star Trek, you will know what I am talking about. Gene’s Star Trek first showed the world what teleportation was all about by beaming Captain Kirk, Spock, Bones and others from one place to another. What seemed like a sci-fi thing in Star Trek may soon become a reality and in this march to teleportation, China has stolen the glory.
Chinese scientists successfully “teleported” data from one elementary particle to another. In plain English, the Chinese researchers have teleported a ‘Photon’ from China roughly 500 km into space. China, which already has a quantum computer and hack-proof communications satellite, now has a significant edge over the United States and Japan in developing unbreakable codes in the cutting edge field of quantum cryptography.
“Micius / Mozi” named after an ancient Chinese philosopher who died in 391 B.C. The rocket placed Micius in a Sun-synchronous orbit so that it passes over the same point on Earth at the same time each day. While being a hack-proof communications satellite, Micius is also has a high power photon receiver that can detect the quantum states of single photons fired from the ground. That’s important because it should allow scientists to test the technological building blocks for various quantum feats such as entanglement, cryptography, and teleportation.
Chinese scientists started experimenting Micius’ Photon Receiver capability to physically teleport elementary particles from Earth. This is a breakthrough of sorts for physicists around the world because it would let them teleportation which would finally help humans in space.
On 10th July , the Micius reaserch team announced the results of its first experiments. The team created the first satellite-to-ground quantum network, in the process smashing the record for the longest distance over which entanglement has been measured. And they’ve used this quantum network to teleport the first elementary particle from the Earth station into orbit.
What is teleportation?
In layman English, teleportation means sending a person or an object from one place to another without physically changing shape. In more serious terms, Teleportation or teletransportation is the theoretical transfer of matter or energy from one point to another without traversing the physical space between them. While it was easy for filmmakers to portray teleportation in their movies, physically it was though impossible feat till a few years ago. Teleportation has become a standard operation in quantum optics labs around the world. The technique relies on the strange phenomenon of entanglement. This occurs when two quantum objects, such as photons form at the same instant and point in space and so share the same existence. In technical terms, they are described by the same wave function.
As soon as Micius was launched, the Chinese researchers went about to achieve particle teleportation. The Chinese team created entangled pairs of photons on the ground at a rate of about 4,000 per second. They then beamed one of these photons to Micius, which passes over China every day at midnight. They kept the other photon on the ground.
Finally, they measured the photons on the ground and in orbit to confirm that entanglement was taking place and that they were able to teleport photons in this way. Over 32 days, they sent millions of photons and found positive results in 911 cases.
As you can see from their success ration, human teleportation is still a far way off but this is a big scientific breakthrough nonetheless. “We report the first quantum teleportation of independent single-photon qubits from a ground observatory to a low Earth orbit satellite through an up link channel with a distance up to 1400 km,” says the Chinese team.
Teleportation through which Scotty beamed Kirk and Spock in space in Star Trek, is no more a fiction but a reality now. The Photon disappeared from Earth and appeared in space, a thing which was unimaginable till a few years ago.