Teleportation isn’t just stuff of science fiction anymore

Beam us up, Scotty! Quantum computing in any widespread form is still a long way off, but it’s coming. (And quantum Internet!) First, however, scientists need to master the art of quantum teleportation–transferring the quantum structure of an object from one place to another without physical transmission.

Currently, a range of theories relating to quantum teleportation exist, however, none of them are perfect.

A recent study, published in Nature Photonics and reported by Futurity,  weighed up the advantages and disadvantages of various possibilities, concluding that a mixture of all may be necessary to move forward.

“We don’t have an ideal or universal technology for quantum teleportation,” said Stefano Pirandola of the computer science department at the University of York, UK. “The field has developed a lot but we seem to need to rely on a hybrid approach to get the best from each available technology.”

An example of problems and combined solutions is that systems using photonic qubits work over distances up to 143 kilometers, but only 50 percent of the information can be transported. However, it may be possible to use them in conjunction with continuous variable systems, which are 100 percent effective in terms of transmission, yet currently limited to short distances.

The backbone of a quantum Internet

Quantum networks would rely on solid, matter-based quantum memories, where quantum information can be stored and further processed.

“The use of quantum teleportation as a building block for a quantum network depends on its integration with quantum memories,” Pirandola said. “The development of good quantum memories would allow us to build quantum repeaters, therefore extending the range of teleportation. They would also give us the ability to store and process the transmitted quantum information at local quantum computers.”

“This could ultimately form the backbone of a quantum Internet. The revised hybrid architecture will likely rely on teleportation-based long-distance quantum optical communication, interfaced with solid state devices for quantum information processing,” he added.

The human race is likely to require so much computing power in years to come that traditional systems will not be able to keep up. Quantum computing could deal with that problem, and advance our knowledge of teleportation at the same time.


Feature Image: Thinkstock