A successful instance of quantum teleportation with no information loss could be the first step toward effective quantum computing.
Quantum computing is often deemed the future of technology, and humanity may have taken an important step toward it with a breakthrough in quantum teleportation. For the first time ever, researchers have successfully transferred, i.e. teleported, a complex set of quantum information between two points.
The quantum information was carried by “wave packets” of light. PopSci reports that the information was “destroyed in one place and instantly resurrected in another” without any loss, using a very complicated-looking machine called the “teleporter” at the University of Tokyo
Researchers appropriately transferred the Schrodinger’s Cat “thought experiment” that surmised a cat could exist in a quantum “superposition” state of being both alive and dead at the same time. Quantum comptuting uses quantum bits (qbits), which opposed to the binary digits of today’s computing that use a 0 or 1 can represent both of these states at the same time, vastly increasing efficiency.
Professor Elanor Huntington of the University of New South Wales was part of the experiment’s team led by University of Tokyo researchers. Huntington explains: “One of the limitations of high-speed quantum communication at present is that some detail is lost during the teleportation process. It’s the Star Trek equivalent of beaming the crew down to a planet and having their organs disappear or materialize in the wrong place.”
“The value of this discovery is that it allows us, for the first time, to quickly and reliably move quantum information around,” she adds. “This information can be carried by light, and it’s a powerful way to represent and process information. Previous attempts to transmit were either very slow or the information might be changed. This process means we will be able to move blocks of quantum information around within a computer or across a network, just as we do now with existing computer technologies.”
Quantum computers represent a mind-boggling increase in computing speed. They aren’t right around the corner yet, but the result of this experiment at least gives them hope for the future.