We physicists used to laugh whenever we talked about some of the topics that I mention in my book, "Physics of the Impossible"—some of these include such ideas as invisibility and teleportation. But we aren’t laughing anymore and we realize that we were wrong on this one. Quantum teleportation already exists and I have had the opportunity to witness this process with my own eyes. In fact, for the Science Channel; we took a film crew and traveled to the University of Maryland and actually filmed an atom being teleported right across the room (from one chamber to another chamber) from a distance of about 5 feet. So, at the quantum level we are experimenting with these processes and already doing this. It’s called quantum entanglement and it’s where two atoms, for example, are vibrating in synchronization (beating back and forth at the same rate). There is an umbilical cord that connects these two twins and anything that happens to one is automatically reflected in the other—faster than the speed of light. So, in a sense, you can have these twins “know” of each other’s presence and that’s the generalized principle by which we use quantum teleportation to “zap” objects.
Now, when we perform these quantum teleportation experiments, we are doing on the atomic level that we once thought to be impossible—and have essentially thrown our previous misconceptions out the window. Cessium and Rubidium atoms have, for example, already been teleported, and I think that within another decade or so we may scale up the process and teleport the first molecule.
The problem is the same when we are talking about the bizarre world of the quantum theory in itself; some things are just unexplainable and defy all the laws of common sense. If you want to see a physicist blush, Ask them about the origin of the quantum theory. The quantum theory is the most bizarre, incredible and phantasmagoric theory ever proposed: objects can disappear and reappear someplace else and objects can be two places at the same time. If you utter this to someone on the street they would dismiss this as nonsense, but in fact electrons do this all the time. Transistors and laser beams are prime examples of this and these strange occurrences are things that we cannot explain yet we know that they happen. One of my previous blog posts at Big Think “The Bizarre and Wonderful World of Quantum Theory--And How Understanding It Has Ultimately Changed Our Lives” explains some of these occurrences in further detail.
We are actually starting to hear about Quantum Teleportation on televisions and it’s also starting to appear in the latest magazine and newspaper headlines.
- National Geographic Magazine posted an article in 2004 stating that Austrian researchers have teleported photons across the Danube River in Vienna
- DISCOVER Magazine posted an article in 2009 stating that Researchers have accomplished teleportation by sending individual atoms of the element ytterbium, which were suspended in separate containers three feet apart.
- Popular Science posted an article on 5/19/2010 stating that Researchers Achieved Quantum Teleportation Over 10 Miles of Empty Space As I stated previously, we may be able to scale up the process in a decade or so and teleport a molecule and then further on down the road perhaps teleport a virus.
As I stated previously, we may be able to scale up the process in a decade or so and teleport a molecule and further on down the road perhaps teleport a virus. Right now, our grasp on the technology simply isn't where we would like it to be. It may be quite a while before you can instantly teleport to the top of the Egyptian Sphinx to eat your lunch like Hayden Christensen did in the movie JUMPER.