Published on Nov 03, 2015
Teleportation is the name given by science fiction writers to the feat of making an object or a person disintegrate in one place while a perfect replica appears some where else. A teleportation machine would be like fax machine except that it would work on three dimensional objects as well as documents, it would produce an exact copy rather than an approximate facsimile, and it would destroy the original in the process of scanning it.
Teleportation was not taken seriously by scientists, because it was thought to violate the uncertainty principle of quantum mechanics, which forbids any measuring or scanning process from extracting all the information in an atom or other object. Scientists found a way to make and end-run around this logic, using a celebrated and paradoxical feature of quantum mechanics known as the Einstein-Podolsky-Rosen effect. The future is promising that we can even teleport man.
Teleportation involves dematerializing an object at one point, and sending the details of that object's precise atomic configuration to another location, where it will be reconstructed. What this means is that time and space could be eliminated from travel - we could be transported to any location instantly, without actually crossing a physical distance.
Most of us were introduced to the idea of teleportation, and other futuristic technologies, by the short-lived star Trek television series (1966-69) based on tales written by Gene Roddenberry. In 1993, the idea of teleportation moved out of the realm of science fiction and into the world of theoretical possibility. It was then that physicist Charles Bennett and a team of researchers at IBM confirmed that quantum teleportation was possible, but only if the original object being teleported was destroyed.
Before going into more detail about the teleportation experiments performed to date, let us firstly get a better idea about what teleportation actually is. To begin with, a key part of this process involves something getting from one place to another without it moving through any places in between.
For example, imagine that you can teleport from school to home. This means that you are able to get home without having to walk, catch a bus or a train, ride your bike or indeed use any other type of everyday transport. Instead, you are simply "beamed" there. In science-fiction stories, teleportation often involves three things:-
1. Firstly, a machine scans some object to find out everything about it. For example, this may mean that some device scans a space explorer on board her spaceship to find out what she's like. This includes finding her height, her mass, the colour of her hair, what sort of shoes she is wearing etc..
2. Next, the machine "disassembles" the space explorer and sends or "beams" all the things that she's made up of to some uncharted planet nearby. These include, for example, all the atoms in her body. The machine also sends a message to the planet containing everything that it found out about her.
3. Finally, we resemble the space explorer on the nearby planet using all the things she's made up of and the message. Teleportation is now complete Though quantum teleportation involves many facets, entanglement is the magical ingredient that is the key to its operation. Somehow, in a manner that we still have much to learn about, it is entanglement that allows quantum teleportation to transmit a message directly from Alice to Bob, whilst skipping all the places in between.