Star Trek-like teleportation for humans is a possibility one physics professor considers feasible in the distant future, The Telegraph reports, but the technology may be used for something else in the near future: Transporting information.
Professor Ronald Hanson from the Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands says that nothing in the laws of physics prevents teleportation of large objects, including humans.
“What we are teleporting is the state of a particle,” Hanson said. “If you believe we are nothing more than a collection of atoms strung together in a particular way, then in principle it should be possible to teleport ourselves from one place to another. In practice it’s extremely unlikely, but to say it can never work is very dangerous.”
In the meantime, Hanson’s team managed to teleport information encoded into sub-atomic particles between two targets placed three meters apart with 100% reliability. Hanson’s next experiment involves teleporting information between buildings on the university campus 1,300 meters apart.
“Teleportation exploits the weird way ‘entangled’ particles acquire a merged identity, with the state of one instantly influencing the other no matter how far apart they are,” The Telegraph writes. “In Prof Hanson’s experiment, three entangled particles – a nitrogen atom locked in a diamond crystal and two electrons – were used to transfer spin information a distance of three meters.”
Four possible states were transmitted, each one corresponding to a qubit, which is the quantum equivalent of a digital bit.
The technology is still in its infancy, but it could help out with the way future some Internet-like networks will be built, especially between ultra-fast quantum computers. One extra benefit of information teleportation technology is network security, as the information can’t be intercepted while traveling.
Hanson isn’t the only scientist investigating teleportation. A report last year revealed that Google seriously considered researching teleportation.