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IP: Teleportation Study: Beam Me Up Scotty...

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Source:  CNN

Spooky teleportation study brings future closer

October 22, 1998
Web posted at: 4:50 PM EDT

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - They may not be able to ask Scotty to beam them up
yet, but California researchers
said Thursday they had completed the first "full" teleportation experiment.

They said they had teleported a beam of light across a laboratory bench.
They did not physically transport the
beam itself, but transmitted its properties to another beam, creating a
replica of the first beam.

"We claim this is the first bona fide teleportation," Jeff Kimble, a
physics professor at the California Institute of Technology, said in a
telephone interview.

Kimble thinks the experiment can eventually transform everyday life.

Scientists hope that quantum computers, which move information about in
this way rather than by using wires and silicon chips, will be infinitely
faster and more powerful than present-day computers.

"I believe that quantum information is going to be really important for our
society, not in five years or 10 years, but if we look into the 100-year
time frame it's hard to imagine that advanced societies don't use quantum
information," Kimble said.

"The appetite of society is so voracious for the moving and processing of
information that it will be driven to exploit even the crazy realm of
quantum physics."

Quantum teleportation allows information to be transmitted at the speed of
light -- the fastest speed possible -- without being slowed down by wires
or cables.

The experiment depends on a property known as entanglement -- what Albert
Einstein once described as "spooky action at a distance."

It is a property of atomic particles that mystifies even physicists.
Sometimes two particles that are a very long distance apart are nonetheless
somehow twinned, with the properties of one affecting the other.

"Entanglement means if you tickle one the other one laughs," Kimble said.

In the weird world of quantum physics, where the normal ideas of what is
solid or what is real do not apply, scientists can use these properties to
their advantage.

What Kimble's team did was create two entangled light beams -- streams of
photons. Photons, the basic unit of light, sometimes act like particles and
sometimes like waves.

They used these two entangled beams to carry information about the quantum
state of a third beam. The first two beams were destroyed in the process,
but the third successfully transmitted its properties over a distance of
about a yard , Kimble's team reported in the journal Science.

Last December a team of physicists in Innsbruck, Austria and a month later
another team in Rome said they did a similar thing, with single photons.
But Kimble said his team was able to verify what they had done, and also
used full light beams as opposed to single photons.

"Ours is an important advance beyond that," he said.

Although the Caltech team worked with light, Kimble thinks teleportation
could be applied to solid objects. For instance, the quantum state of a
photon could be teleported and applied to a particle, even to an atom.

"Way beyond sex change operations and genetic engineering, the quantum
state of one entity could be transported to another entity," Kimble said.
"We think we know how to do that."

In other words, an object's individual atoms would not be transported, but
transmitting its properties could create a perfect replica.

Could this mean the transporters of the television and movie
science-fiction series Star Trek, which beam people and objects for huge
distances, could one day be a reality?

"I don't think anybody knows the answer," Kimble said. "Let's don't
teleport a person -- let's teleport the smallest bacterium. How much
entanglement would we need to teleport such a thing?"

Would such a teleported bacterium actually be the same bacterium, or just a
very good copy?

"Again, no one knows for sure," Kimble said. But his team is working on it.

Copyright 1998 Reuters Limited. All rights reserved.
  1998 Cable News Network, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
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Robert A. Hettinga <mailto: [email protected]>
Philodox Financial Technology Evangelism <http://www.philodox.com/>
44 Farquhar Street, Boston, MA 02131 USA
"... however it may deserve respect for its usefulness and antiquity,
[predicting the end of the world] has not been found agreeable to
experience." -- Edward Gibbon, 'Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire'