Teleportation is the duplication or re-creation of physical objects or their properties using light beams, according to researchers at the California Institute of Technology. Also calling it quantum teleportation, the researchers have successfully transmitted information about the properties of an object at the speed of light so that the object could theoretically be duplicated or reconstructed at the destination. The experiment takes advantage of the atomic particle property in which two particles at a great distance are in some mysterious way intertwined. Thus, an effect on one particle is almost simultaneously felt in the other particle as well. In physics, this characteristic is called entanglement. The CalTech researchers believe the characteristic may one day have practical applications, one of which would be a quantum computer in which information is moved with light using the entanglement principle rather than wires.

In their experiment, the researchers created two entangled light beams. (A light beam is a stream of photons, and photons, which have both wave and particle characteristics, are the basic units of light.) The entangled light beams carried information about the quantum state of a third light beam over the distance of a yard (about one meter) at the speed of light. The researchers believe the concept can be applied to transmitting the physical property attributes of solid objects at the speed of light. Is there any difference between a particular solid object and the collection of its attributes reproduced at a great distance at the speed of light? The researchers say no one knows for sure.

This was last updated in April 2005

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