Skip to comments.Scientists Transfer Info Between Atoms (Star Trek Teleportation is REAL!)
Posted on 06/16/2004 1:54:18 PM PDT by vannrox
TED: 2:55 pm EDT June 16, 2004
UPDATED: 3:03 pm EDT June 16, 2004
In a step toward making ultra-powerful computers, scientists have transferred physical characteristics between atoms by using a phenomenon so bizarre that even Albert Einstein called it spooky.
Such "quantum teleportation" of characteristics had been demonstrated before between beams of light.
The work with atoms is "a landmark advance," H.J. Kimble of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, Calif., and S.J. van Enk of Bell Labs in Murray Hill, N.J., declare in Thursday's issue of the journal Nature.
Two teams of scientists report similar results in that issue. One group was led by David J. Wineland of the National Institute of Standards and Technology in Boulder, Colo., and the other by Rainer Blatt of the University of Innsbruck in Austria.
Teleportation between atoms could someday lie at the heart of powerful quantum computers, which are probably at least a decade away from development, Wineland said. Although his work moved information about atomic characteristics only a tiny fraction of an inch, that's in the ballpark for what would be needed inside a computer, he said.
His work involved transmitting characteristics between pairs of beryllium atoms, while the Austrian work used pairs of calcium atoms. Each atom's "quantum state," a complex combination of traits, was transmitted to its counterpart.
Key to the process was a phenomenon called entanglement, which Einstein derided as "spooky action at a distance" before experiments showed it was real.
Basically, researchers can use lab techniques to create a weird relationship between pairs of tiny particles. After that, the fate of one particle instantly affects the other; if one particle is made to take on a certain set of properties, the other immediately takes on identical or opposite properties, no matter how far away it is and without any apparent physical connection to the first particle.
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I would imagine they are getting sick of hearing "Beam me up, Scotty" quips right about now.
The "spooky entanglement" idea would seem to imply that it might be possible to do so, which brings up a lot of other weird problems.
This phenomenon is quite fascinating and hints at any number of remarkable possibilities. It also hints at a potentially vast realm of undiscovered physics. About two or three years ago I read a brief article about how they could use the spin in such atoms to instantly communicate across any distance using binary code. Someday that alone will be crucial to interstellar exploration.
Just heard of this yesterday. If it is like quantum entanglement as it applies to photons, it is instantaneous at any distance.
"How can you be in two places at once when you're not anywhere at all". Line from a comedy sketch. Bet no one knows which one.
Are we talking about gay marriage at the sub-atomic level here?
I don't think this bears any relationship to Star Trek transporters.
Is it from "waiting for the electrician or someone like him" or is it from "we're all bozo's on this bus???"
Yes, see my post #5. As I understood the previous experiments, when they split atoms, the resulting particles had the same spin. If they reversed the spin of one particle then the other particle's spin instantly reversed with no time delay due to distance. By using that method, you could communicate instantly with binary code, or if you design a mechanism to respond to the atom's spin, then you could hypothetically control things by remote over any distance.
The particles appear to have some inexplicable communion with one another that operates outside our current conception of the physical universe.
Remember when they "teleported" a photon?
"How do you know you teleported it?"
"Well, the one over here is the same as the one over there, int it?"
...then they admitted that they had a 'spare' photon over "here" just hanging around...
Teleporting macroscopic bits of matter would involve either:
(a) moving gigantic amounts of energy at speed-of-light or faster velocities, and not destroying your equipment;
(b) moving gigantic amounts of information at speed-of-light or faster velocities and then using a tank of "stuff" to rebuild whatever was teleported. Unless you want two (2) copies you must destroy the original (the scanning process might do that anyway), which means murdering Commander Ryker #1, which might present some wee legal complications. If you don't murder Commander Ryker #1, we have two of him, same fingerprints, same SSN, same address. #2 owns one-half of everything owned by number One, and he can prove it.
Given that converting a human body to pure energy would probably liberate enough energy to destroy the Earth, both modes sound a little unlikely.
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Just a thought... if teleportation is possible, what happens to your intellect when your atoms get scrambled and reassembled? What about spirit? Does that get emailed as well? Like an attachment maybe?
Firesign Theater, and I believe it was their second album for Columbia in 1969.
How's THAT for entanglement.