View Full Version : Scientists teleport atoms for first time

06-24-2004, 11:26 PM
Scientists teleport atoms for first time
By Clive Cookson in London
FT.com site; Jun 16, 2004

In an advance that will thrill fans of Star Trek, scientists have for the first time teleported atoms. They say their research will help to develop ultra-fast quantum computers - but Trekkies should not expect teleportation machines to beam objects or people between distant locations in the foreseeable future.

Previous experiments have succeeded in teleporting only photons (particles of light). The step up to atoms - far larger and more complex particles - was made almost simultaneously by two separate research teams, one at the University of Innsbruck in Austria and the other at the US National Institute of Standards and Technology in Boulder, Colorado.

The scientists agreed to report their results together in the journal Nature on Thursday.

Both groups used individual atoms, isolated within magnetic "ion traps" at extremely low temperatures, to demonstrate teleportation. The Austrians worked with calcium and the Americans with beryllium.

Real-life teleportation does not literally carry matter instantly from place to place as in science fiction films such as Star Trek and The Fly.

It transfers the "quantum state" of an object - the full information required to define all its physical properties - instantly to a replica object in another location, which can be at an indefinite distance.

Teleportation depends on quantum properties that are radically different from those in our macroscopic world.

In the latest teleportation experiments, atoms were manipulated into a state of "superposition" in which they can be in two places at once. They were also "entangled" with each other, so that they interrelate in predictable ways, as if connected by an invisible force.

Physicists believe that, in a futuristic quantum computer, teleportation could transfer data between physically separated "quantum bits" or qubits. Atoms in ion traps are leading candidates for this.

Manipulating qubits is tricky, since quantum states can be destroyed by the slightest disturbance. David Wineland, leader of the US research team, said: "It's hard to move qubits quickly to share or process information.

"But using teleportation as we've reported could allow logic operations to be performed much more quickly."

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06-25-2004, 05:46 AM
So... does this mean that the future is gonna be more like "The Matrix" than "Star Trek"/"Star Wars"? :eek: :D

06-25-2004, 06:14 AM
This sounds more like the original object is cloned at the transported site. A Quantum copy, is not really a true transportation.