Scientists have set a new record in the field of quantum teleportation as they successfully teleported light particles over 100 kilometers of optical fiber confirming the feasibility of quantum communication over long distances in fiber.
Researchers from the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) set a new distance record with the transportation of quantum data through fibers that are four times longer compared with the previous record-holder.
The feat was made possible with the deployment of newly designed photon detectors on the far end of the fiber.
Quantum optics scientist Martin Stevens, from the NIST who was part of the study, said that only around 1 percent of light particles make it all the way through 100 kilometers of fibers and the experiment would have not have been successful without the new detectors.
"We report on quantum teleportation over optical fiber using four high-detection-efficiency superconducting nanowire single-photon detectors (SNSPDs)," the researchers reported in their study, which was published in the journal Optica.
"These SNSPDs make it possible to perform highly efficient multifold photon measurements, allowing us to confirm that the quantum states of input photons were successfully teleported over 100 km of fiber with an average fidelity of 83.7±2.0%."
Although there are other research teams that have transferred quantum information over longer distances in free space, doing so over conventional fiber-optic lines offers more flexibility for network design and is more significant to practical applications.
The result of the experiment could one day pave way to a quantum internet that provides next-generation encryption, which involves the secure transmission of communications such as those between Earth and spacecraft.
While teleporting an object from one point of the universe to another point without having to move it through the space in between may sound as something from science fiction, researchers have been conducting experiments with quantum teleportation since 1998.
The process depends on the so called "quantum states" or the fundamental details of an objects and instantly transporting that information from one point to another to recreate the object at another place.
The technology may still be far from what was portrayed in in Star Trek but renowned theoretical physicist Michio Kaku believes that a teleporter could become a reality soon. He said that it is only a matter of time before humans start "beaming" across the universe.
"We used to laugh when someone talked about teleportation, but we don't laugh anymore," Kaku said. "Quantum teleportation already exists [and] I think within a decade we will teleport the first molecule."