Physicists Test Transporter For Data

By Michelle
June 4, 2007 - 9:38 PM

Physicists have set a new record in sending information using quantum teleportation, though they say a Star Trek-type transporter is still a long way away.

The Belfast Telegraph reported on a team that teleported data over 89 miles in the Canary Islands from La Palma to Tenerife, 10 times further than any previous attempt. Photons - not torpedos but tiny packets of light particles - sent information between telescopes on the islands in a method that could be used to send encrypted data.

Star Trek's transporters are supposed to be based on quantum entanglement, the same phenomenon being tested here. Robert Ursin of the University of Vienna said that this experiment demonstrates the potential for quantum cryptography: "We really wanted to show that this can be done in the real world and our dream is to go into space and try it there."

The test was funded by the European Space Agency, though the current system cannot transport matter from one place to another. "We think Star Trek is really very good science fiction but I'm afraid teleporting people is not possible with current technology," he said.

The original study is described in Nature Physics. The full summary is here.

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