Thursday, October 11, 2007

Teleportation, just not for you

Is teleportation of science fiction type ever going to arrive? It will be a long time, if ever. Some recent developments, however, are raising startling possibilities about the utility of teleporting something else: information. Experimenters have already succeeded in "teleporting" the quantum properties of particles, the first step toward a quantum computer with infinite storage and (to us humans) seemingly infinite speed, as well as enabling light-speed transference of huge amounts of data across interplanetary distances.
This CNN article quotes Valerie Jamieson, physics editor of New Scientist, who offers a helpful analogy.
"This is not teleportation as we like to think of it, namely an object disappearing from one place and reappearing in another. Rather, it is about the transferring across space of the quantum properties of particles, and in particular their spin." She suggests imagining a pool table. "In the traditional view of teleportation a spinning ball will de-materialize at one end of the table and exactly the same ball will re-materialize at the other end. In quantum teleportation the spinning ball stays where it is, but its spin is transferred to another ball somewhere else on the table, in effect creating a Doppelganger. It is an aspect or a 'property' of the original ball that has been transmitted rather than the ball itself. Although to complicate matters the process of transmission would destroy the original ball."

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