Experiments in the Canary Islands hold the distance record for quantum teleportation.


Data teleportation: The quantum space race

Fierce rivals have joined forces in the race to teleport information to and from space.

Zeeya Merali
05 December 2012

Three years ago, Jian-Wei Pan brought a bit of Star Trek to the Great Wall of China. From a site near the base of the wall in the hills north of Beijing, he and his team of physicists from the University of Science and Technology of China (USTC) in Hefei aimed a laser at a detector on a rooftop 16 kilometres away, then used the quantum properties of the laser’s photons to ‘teleport’ information across the intervening space1. At the time, it was a world distance record for quantum teleportation, and a major step towards the team’s ultimate aim of teleporting photons to a satellite.

If that goal is achieved, it will establish the first links of a ‘quantum Internet’ that harnesses the powers of subatomic physics to create a super-secure global communication network. It will confirm China’s ascent in the field, from a bit-player a little more than a decade ago to a global powerhouse: in 2016, ahead of Europe and North America, China plans to launch a satellite dedicated to quantum-science experiments. It will offer physicists a new arena in which to test the foundations of quantum theory, and explore how they fit together with the general theory of relativity — Einstein’s very different theory of space, time and gravity.

Read more: Data teleportation: The quantum space race : Nature News & Comment.

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