Quantum Teleportation is for information (data) only, NOT people

Beam me up Scotty. Star Trek fans who watch as captains Kirk and Picard are beamed from the Starship Enterprise to a nearby planet want to believe that such instantaneous transport of matter, called teleportation, is actually possible. But is it? What is teleportation?

Quantum teleportation is the proven process of transmitting quantum information, such as the exact state of an atom or photon, to another atom or photon at really far distances after first undergoing a process called quantum entanglement. It is important to note that quantum teleportation depends on the current for communication, which can go no faster than the speed of light. Quantum teleportation has not been shown to be faster than the speed of light. Another note is that this teleportation is only of information, in the form of qubits, and not atoms or anything larger.

When discussing the idea of teleportation, Einstein used the term “spukhafte fernwirkung” which roughly translates to “spooky action at a distance”. Since 1998 scientists have been applying Einstein’s term to atoms and beams of light, sending their replicas across space. These experiments in physics are done through a bizarre process called ”quantum entanglement”.

Laboratory researchers create three charged atoms of an element such as beryllium, let’s call them A, B and C. Like all atoms, atom A has certain unique properties, such as its spin, motion, and magnetic field. Atoms B & C have their own properties. In teleportation, scientists move the properties of atom A to atom C, in essence recreating atom A.

Yet physicists face a big obstacle in moving atom A’s unique characteristics. It’s called Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle. This is the scientific theorem that one cannot know with certainty the properties of a particle, including its location and speed.

To get around the uncertainty, scientists “entangle” atom B and atom C. Through quantum physics, researchers then can measure the properties of an atom without changing them. Next they transmit the properties of atom A, via Atom B, to Atom C. Atom C takes on the properties of atom A, in effect “becoming” atom A.

Great! when do we leave? how can we be teleported ?
The experiment can be done with photons of light as well as atoms. Atoms can be sent about a foot and a half, and photons can be launched about 20 miles. But here’s the disappointing part: this experiment can’t yet be done with people. To duplicate a person, you’d need machines smart enough to copy and exactly position the trillions of atoms in the human body.



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