Beam me up, Scotty. Teleportation is small step closer: researchers transport photon 500 kilometers: Micius satellite

Scientists moved past theory and science-fiction, after successfully transporting an “object” from Earth to an orbiting satellite 300 miles away. Researchers at the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Centre (Gobi Desert) launched a special-purpose satellite named Micius. [2]

Micius was designed to advance research into teleportation, cryptography and quantum entanglement. By using a hypersensitive photon receiver that can detect individual photons.

 

Micius was designed to advance research into teleportation, cryptography and quantum entanglement. By using a hypersensitive photon receiver that can detect individual photons.

 

Although photon teleportation is common today in advanced labs studying quantum phenomena, this is the first time scientists accomplished teleportation from earth-to-space.

“We report the first quantum teleportation of independent single-photon qubits from a ground observatory to a low Earth orbit satellite—through an up-link channel— with a distance up to 1400 km” announced the Chinese research team. [1]

Scientists discovered they could transmit quantum information from one point to a remote point as early as the 1990s. Basically, you download all information about a proton from one place and transmit it to another. The remote proton takes on the characteristics of the first due to quantum entanglement.

Although this technology is not capable of transporting matter — as visualized in Star Trek — it has wide usage in quantum computing, communications and networks. In theory, quantum entanglement is not limited by distance. By creating ‘entangled’ protons in one place, they can be “beamed” to another location. This means, theoretically, teleportation of photons anywhere, although practically, it has been limited by the atmosphere and photon loss in optical fibres.

 

Miscius Satellite: Although photon teleportation is common today in advanced labs studying quantum phenomena, this is the first time scientists accomplished teleportation from earth-to-space. 

 

Micius, however, is orbiting at 300 miles (500 kilometres) and the photons transmit (mostly) through space. This vacuum minimizes atmospheric loss. The researchers even set up the ground station at an altitude of 4,000 meters, to reduce distance through the atmosphere. At its nearest orbital position, Micius is 500 kilometres distant, and at its furthers 1400 kilometres.

To date, the researchers have successfully sent 911 completed teleportations where the photons remained entangled.

NOTES
[1] “Ground to satellite quantum teleportation” Cornell University.
[2] MIT Technology Review.

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