Friday, March 27, 2009

Teleportation is Coming

A group of scientists have succeeded in teleporting an atom. Well, more technically, they teleported the information encoded in the atom and not the matter of the atom.

Using a pair of ions, or charged particles, group leader Christopher Monroe and his team place each in a vacuum and keep them in position with electric fields. An ultra-fast laser pulse triggers the atoms to emit photons simultaneously. If the photons interact in just the right way, their parent atoms enter a quantum state known as entanglement, in which atom B adopts the properties of atom A even though they're in separate chambers a meter apart. When A is measured, the information that had been previously encoded on it disappears in accordance with the quirky rules of the quantum world. But all is not lost: because B is entangled with A, B now contains the information that was once carried on A. That information, in a very real sense, has been teleported.

Quantum mechanics is cool stuff. Now if someone would just get the Theory of Everything, worked out, we'd be getting somewhere.

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