Beam Me Up Scotty: Physicists Calculate Energy Needed For Teleportation

Lee Rannals for – Your Universe Online

Physics students have determined what energy it would take in order for the fictional Star Trek character Scotty to beam up Captain Kirk.

Four University of Leicester physics students published a paper in the School’s Journal of Physics Special Topics explaining that the energy required to teleport one person is shown to be dependent on bandwidth, meaning a decrease in time creates an increase in power consumption.

In order for a human to teleport, each person will need to be represented in transferable data. The transferable data of a human would be represented by the DNA pairs that make up genomes in each cell.

The total data for each human cell was calculated as about 10 billion bits and one cell contains enough information to replicate any other type of cell in the body. To rebuild a person, one must know the full information of the traveler’s brain as well, which brings the number of total information content to about 2 followed by 42 zeroes.

The students were able to calculate both the time and power required to teleport a human from Earth to the chosen point in space. They found that the time to complete a fully successful human teleportation from Earth to space was questionable. The students said the data transfer alone would require up to 4,850,000,000,000,000 years, which is about 350,000 times longer than the universe, assuming the bandwidth used is 29.5 to 30 gigahertz.

“We employed several approximations to determine the amount of data required in bits to fully store a human genetic code and neural information, and the signal to noise ratio of typical signaling equipment,” said David Starkey, one of the students involved. “We also assumed that the maximum data sampling rate, the NY Quist limit, was reached by both transmitter and receiver.”

He said the team’s results indicate the time scales needed to complete a full teleport of an individual are too lengthy.

“A lot of the papers published in the Journal are on subjects that are amusing, topical, or a bit off-the-wall. Our fourth years are nothing if not creative,” said course leader Dr Mervyn Roy, a lecturer at the University’s Department of Physics and Astronomy. “But, to be a research physicist – in industry or academia – you need to show some imagination, to think outside the box, and this is certainly something that the module allows our students to practice.”

In June, researchers from the Niels Bohr Institute wrote in the journal Nature Physics that they were able to teleport information between two clouds of gas atoms at a range of less than 1.6 feet. These results were another step towards the commercial use of a quantum communication network.