We're one step closer to creating the Ansible communicator in "Ender's Game," the warp drive envisioned by Mexican physicist Miguel Alcubierre and a "Star Trek"-style Transporter.
Or we can at least keep thinking that while scientists do the hard, incremental physics required to keep us dreaming of those kinds of future advancements. This time the progress comes from a research team out of the lab of Professor Nicolas Gisin in the physics department at the University of Geneva.
The team achieved teleportation of the quantum state of a photon -- in this case, it's known as the photon's polarization -- to a crystal more than 25 kilometers (15.5 miles) away. The distance breaks the previous record of 6 kilometers (3.7 miles) set 10 years ago by the same team. This marks the latest success in a series of experiments the group, led by physicist Félix Bussières, has been conducting in the last few years in an effort to better understand instantaneous data transfer using newer technology.
The results, which were achieved in March, were published in the journal Nature Photonics on September 21.
In this particular experiment, the researchers stored one photon in a crystal, essentially creating a solid-state memory bank. They sent another photon of a different wavelength 25 kilometers away through optical fiber, whereupon they had it interact with a third photon. Because the first two photons were entangled -- a quantum property meaning the particles could speak to another across an infinite distance -- the interaction sent the data to the photo stored in the memory bank, where the team was able to retrieve it.
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