Setting a new world record for quantum teleportation, two separate teams of scientists have managed to move small units of information from one place to another over several kilometres of fibre optic cable.
The teams, working in the cities of Calgary in Canada and Hefei in China, used fiber optic networks already in existence to teleport information from one place to another, a feat which, until now, hadn’t been achieved outside of a lab.
Quantum teleportation is never going to send humans instantaneously from one place to another – so don’t start planning those long haul holidays. What it does offer is an extremely secure method of communication and encryption.
Quantum teleportation relies on a phenomenon called quantum entanglement, whereby some particles remain connected no matter how far apart they are.
This means that should the state of one particle change, the other will be instantaneously affected through a transmission of information that’s faster than the speed of light.
As the particles communicate via entanglement, it would be next to impossible for an outside source to read the information encoded in them.
To decrypt any message, a separately sent key is required which, even if intercepted, would require the person to also have possession of the entangled photons.
In the Calgary experiment, Dr Wolfgang Tittel and his colleagues managed to teleport the quantum state of a photon over 8.2 kilometers.