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Record-Breaking Particle Teleportations Make Quantum Internet Closer to Reality

Sep 21, 2016 04:00 AM EDT

Scientists from Alberta, Canada and Shanghai, China have set new world records for quantum teleportation. Two independent teams have managed to successfully teleport photon over several kilometers.

According to Science Mag, one group from the University of Calgary in Alberta, Canada managed to teleport quantum particle light over 6.2 kilometers while another group from the University of Science and Technology in Shanghai, China was able to transport quantum particle for over 14.7 kilometers. Both studies were published in the journal Nature Photonics.

Quantum teleportation, as New Scientist notes, is a phenomenon that relies on the "entanglement" property where one particle could affect another particle despite distances. In quantum teleportation, the quantum states of a particle could be transferred to another without physical travel.

However, it must be pointed out that despite its name, quantum teleportation does not lead to human teleportation. Instead, this discovery is a major stride in the development of quantum internet, where users could transfer information and quantum states instead of the usual binary strings.

Physicists and engineers have currently built quantum networks, where they could send secure messages, but these networks are still partially built and in the infantry stage. This new feat in quantum teleportation technology could result to the creation of a quantum network within a city (which will be connected to a central quantum computer).  Wolfgang Tittel of the University of Calgary also said that the technology could even go beyond a city, creating quantum communication networks between large cities by using quantum repeaters to increase the signal scope.

“We have shown that this works across a metropolitan fibre network, over 6.2 kilometres, as the crow flies,” said Tittel. “You can scale the whole thing up and can go, in theory, to arbitrarily long distances.”

"The two experiments can be seen as milestones on the path to a long-term goal, namely to build a fibre-based quantum internet connecting large cities, said Johannes Kofler from the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics.

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