A team of physicists from the University of Queensland (Australia) was able to move an atom using a technique based on quantum mechanics, which could be described as teleportation.
There is a long list of science fiction myths that have become reality over the years. Teleportation is one of those dreams that have occupied the minds of creators and fans in film and literature. Dreaming is one thing, but the scientific experiments that are being conducted today are something radically different. Nevertheless, there is no other name for what Australian researchers have done with an atom.
The work was carried out at the University of Queensland in the Australian city of Brisbane and their results have been reported in the journal Nature, which presents a detailed explanation of the experiment and its bases. The technique has attracted so much attention that even the researchers have been unable to resist the comparisons. «In this process the information simply appears at the destination, almost like the teleportation used in the popular science fiction series Star Trek», says Dr. Arkady Fedorov, one of the team leaders.
But what actually happens? The fact is that the researchers have managed to send an atom from one place to another within a chip without using a physical means of transport. Scientists call the information that has changed place ‘quantum information’. According to Dr. Fedorov, the process is made possible by the laws of quantum mechanics. To do this one must first obtain –-and this is the key issue of the research– a kind of link or correlation called entanglement in English, shared by the information’s origin and its destination.
According to quantum mechanics, this correlation is what makes possible a phenomenon hitherto considered impossible. One of the aspects stressed by researchers is that quantum teleportation has been used in a circuit, just as today’s modern computers contain a circuit through which information travels. They claim that this technique allows us to move data with a speed and accuracy far beyond what has been achieved before.
Real-world applications of quantum teleportation
The research results could be used in larger networks and electronic chips with higher performance. In the future data transmission speeds will serve to improve devices. Quantum teleportation could also be useful for secure communications and more efficient data processing.
Research into quantum systems can be applied in many different scientific disciplines, from physics and engineering to biology or medicine. This work opens the door to a different kind of communication than we have known until now, and its usefulness extends to a multitude of areas in which the connection speed between two points is critical.