Recycling In The Quantum World Could Lead To Better Teleportation
January 17, 2013

Entanglement Recycling Could Allow For The Teleportation Of Multiple Objects

Alan McStravick for - Your Universe Online

What Einstein once referred to as “spooky action at a distance” could be our way into a 'Star Trek' future

Watching the original 'Star Trek' series as a child, the most enthralling part of any episode was the moment they dissolved during teleportation on their way down to an alien planet. The science behind that at-one-time fiction shows it is now en route to becoming fact.

The possibility of teleportation was first recognized by a team of scientists in 1993. They calculated that teleportation could, in principle, work using quantum laws. The team stated that therefore, quantum teleportation could harness the 'entanglement' law to transmit particle-sized bites of information across vast distances, instantaneously.

The concept of entanglement involves a pair of quantum particles, such as electrons or protons, that are intrinsically bound together. The actual distance is irrelevant as the entangled particles retain synchronicity whether they are beside each other or on opposing sides of a galaxy. This connection allows for the relay of quantum bits of information, called qubits, using only traditional forms of classical communication.

Research conducted by theoretical physicists over the previous ten years has shown that the law of 'entanglement' may be the key necessary to unlock the eventual teleportation of quantum information.

In a new study, entitled 'Generalized Teleportation and Entanglement Recycling,' to be published in the journal Physical Review Letters, researchers report they have figured out a way to 'recycle' entanglement. Their idea of recycling, according to the researchers, will allow for an increase in the efficiency of the connections between the quantum particles. Though the research remains completely theoretical, the result could actually make a reality of the teleportation concept we know from 'Star Trek'.

Much like Asimov established the Three Laws of Robotics, so too has this team of scientists devised the first generalized form of teleportation. The protocol will allow for a wide variety of potential applications in quantum physics.

There were significant problems with previously established teleportation protocols. They typically were divided into two groupings. The first group of protocols involved those that could only transmit scrambled information, relying on the receiver to make the necessary corrections. The second group of protocols, or “port-based” teleportation, didn't require the receiver to make corrections. However, “port-based” teleportation is highly impractical due to the sheer amount of entanglement that would be necessary. Basically, each object that would be sent would ultimately destroy the entangled state.

The research team, consisting of physicists from Cambridge, University College London and the University of Gdansk, has implemented their theory of “recycling” in the development of a protocol that would provide an optimal solution. They claim the “recycling” will allow for the teleportation of multiple objects due to the strength of the gateway between particles. Their protocol has allowed them to transmit multiple qubits simultaneously. However, the entangled state undergoes a proportional degradation in relation to the amount of qubits sent.

"The first protocol consists of sequentially teleporting states, and the second teleports them in a bulk," said Sergii Strelchuck from Cambridge's Department of Applied Mathematics and Theoretical Physics, who led the research with colleagues Jonathan Oppenheim of Cambridge and UCL and Michal Horodecki of the University of Gdansk.

"We have also found a generalized teleportation technique which we hope will find applications in areas such as quantum computation."

Albert Einstein, one of the great thinkers in quantum physics, did not appreciate the theory of quantum entanglement, even going so far as to call it a “spooky action at a distance.” Although Einstein dismissed the theory entirely, entanglement has long since been proven to be a real feature of our universe. Further research in this field will unlock the potential to advance all manner of scientific endeavor.

"There is a close connection between teleportation and quantum computers, which are devices which exploit quantum mechanics to perform computations which would not be feasible on a classical computer," said Strelchuck. "Building a quantum computer is one of the great challenges of modern physics, and it is hoped that the new teleportation protocol will lead to advances in this area."

Teleportation is happening now. Just last year a team of Chinese scientists reported they were able to teleport photons over a distance of 143km. This feat broke all previous records and opened the door for entanglement to be recognized as an important area of scientific investment. Strelchuck adds, “Entanglement can be thought of as the fuel, which powers teleportation. Our protocol is more fuel efficient, able to use entanglement thriftily while eliminating the need for error correction.”

While the teleportation of information carried by single atoms is, with our current technologies, a reality, it is the teleportation of large objects, such as a flower, a rock or a human, that will continue, for now, to remain in the theoretical realm of science fiction.