Quantum teleportation is now a reality, and a new process achieves the feat reliably. However, don't start preparing your first journey by transporter just yet. Only data can be transmitted in this fashion.
The outcome of this new study in quantum mechanics suggests Albert Einstein may have made an error in his views on quantum entanglement. This feature allows pairs of of sub-atomic particles to "connect" with each other, even when separated. When changes occur in one of the members, the other particle reacts instantly to the action.
The world's most famous physicist is famous for saying that "physics should represent a reality in time and space, free from spooky actions at a distance."
Researchers from the Kavli Institute of Nanoscience of Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands have created a new system capable of reliably transporting information.
A pair of electrons were held ten feet apart from each other. Each of these tiny particles exhibits a quality called spin. This is not a physical spinning, like a top. Instead, these particles affect their immediate environments in a similar fashion to a spinning magnet. When the spin of one of the pair was changed by researchers, the other one changed immediately - faster than the speed of light. Such velocities are forbidden by the laws of special relativity.
Investigation was carried out by trapping electrons in diamonds, stored at extremely low temperatures. This creates qubits, units of quantum data that can store multiple values at one time. Today's computers only allow two states - zero or one.
Qubits allow a superposition of many values between those two numbers. Quantum computers could provide vast improvements in speed over current technology.
This new research could be "a prime candidate for the realization of quantum networks for quantum communication and network-based quantum computing," researchers wrote in an article detailing their research.
Teleportation of quantum information has been accomplished before, but the process was not close to reliable, typically working once in every 100 million attempts. The new method achieves that feat every time.
Next, investigators will attempt to increase the distance between the particles from around ten feet to thousands of feet.
Bell's Theorem, first posed in 1964, could be tested at these distances. This could show if interactions between the particle pairs are truly instantaneous.
"There is a big race going on between five or six groups to prove Einstein wrong. There is one very big fish," Ronald Hanson, head of the research group at Delft University said.
Quantum teleportation of data was profiled in the journal Science.