June 6, 2013
Researchers Develop Quantum Teleportation Between Gas Atoms
Brett Smith for redOrbit.com - Your Universe Online
Researchers from the Niels Bohr Institute have announced the capacity to consistently teleport information between two clouds of gas atoms, according to a report in the journal Nature Physics."It is a very important step for quantum information research to have achieved such stable results that every attempt will succeed," said co-author Eugene Polzik, professor at the Niels Bohr Institute at the University of Copenhagen.
In their study, the research team used two non-connected glass containers filled with a cloud of billions of cesium gas atoms. To start the process, light was sent into the first glass container, causing the quantum phenomenon known as entanglement between light and gas. The result is an established quantum link, or synchronization, between light particles and atoms.
When the specifically-calibrated laser light hits the gas atoms, the outermost electrons in the atoms react by aligning in the same direction. The direction, either up or down, represent quantum information in the same way the numbers 0 and 1 do in binary computer code.
After being hit with the laser, the cesium gas emits light particles containing this quantum information. The information-containing light is then transmitted to the other gas container and a detector registers the quantum information. The detector then signals the first container and the direction of the atoms' electrons are adjusted according to the signal, completing the quantum teleportation from the second to the first container.
Because the gas atoms move at a speed of over 650 feet per second at room temperature, they are constantly coming in contact with the glass wall of the container, losing any information they have acquired. To compensate for this, the research group has developed a novel solution that might appear easy, but ended up becoming fairly complicated.
"We use a coating of a kind of paraffin on the interior of the glass contains [sic] and it causes the gas atoms to not lose their coding, even if they bump into the glass wall," Polzik said.
The research team also had to engineer a detector capable of registering light particles.
According to the report, the teleportation's range is currently less than 1.6 feet, an aspect researchers need to improve if the technology is to have any practical applications.
"The range of (1.6 feet) is entirely due to the size of the laboratory," Polzik said, adding — “we could increase the range if we had the space and, in principle, we could teleport information, for example, to a satellite."
The stable results are another step towards commercial use of a quantum communication network. Last month, a team of scientists at Los Alamos National Labs announced that they had been using quantum network for about two years. The team used a groundbreaking network of nodes to transmit information via entangled photons.
Critics pointed out that the Los Alamos system isn´t necessarily true quantum internet. However, it offers a level of security only achievable using quantum communications. Due to Heisenberg´s Uncertainty Principle, quantum communications are extremely difficult to hack, especially if the hacker wants to remain undetected.