Teleportation has taken a giant leap as Chinese scientists successfully teleported an object from Earth to space for the first time.
In a historic achievement, researchers teleported a photon from the Gobi Desert to the satellite Micius, which orbits 300 miles above Earth. The breakthrough was made possible through a process known as quantum entanglement.
Micius is a highly sensitive photon receiver capable of detecting the quantum states of single photons that are fired from Earth. The satellite makes it possible for scientists on Earth to conduct a range of physics experiments that involve quantum entanglement, cryptography, and teleportation.
The Micius team now announced the results of its first experiment on teleportation and which involves the world's first satellite-to-ground quantum network.
Teleportation, which has become a standard operation in quantum optic labs worldwide, relies on the phenomenon of entanglement. The process happens when two particles such as photons react as one without a physical connection between them. They form at the same instance and point in space and share the same existence.
Large spans of distance can separate this existence, but the changes applied to one pair will be reflected in the other pair regardless of the expanse that separates them.
For the experiment, the researchers created entangled pairs of photons at a rate of about 4,000 per second. For each pair, one photon was beamed to the Micius satellite that orbits Earth while the other was kept on the ground.
The researchers then measured both photons to determine if entanglement was taking place and if they were able to teleport photons through the process. The researchers sent millions of photons over a period of 32 days. Of these, 911 cases had positive results.
The researchers added that the success of the experiment has implications on the developments of quantum internet. Quantum communication could be the answer to vulnerabilities of current internet connection, as it promises more secure communication channels.
"An outstanding open challenge for a global-scale "quantum internet" is to significantly extend the range for teleportation," wrote Ji-Gang Ren, a researcher from the University of Science and Technology of China, and colleagues in their study.
"A promising solution to this problem is exploiting satellite platform and space-based link, which can conveniently connect two remote points on the Earth with greatly reduced channel loss because most of the photons' propagation path is in empty space."