China Breaks Teleportation Record 97 KilometersChina has managed to teleport a quantum state 97 kilometers. That breaks the standing teleportation record of 16 kilometers by 81 kilometers. This is big, big news for communications.
Teleportation in the real world hardly resembles teleportation on television. For one thing, there is much less glitter. For another, real teleportation is all about transferring information and synchronizing particles. It might not seem as sexy, but quantum teleportation like this could revolutionize global communications.
The idea is simple: when one photon at one point is changed, another photon at the other end also changes. Technically no information can be passed along this chain, but quantum bits, called qubits, can be partially encoded. Then information can be transmitted along more traditional means that provides the context needed to decipher the qubits.
An interesting thing to note: distance doesn’t change the speed of the photon change. That means that the change happens faster than the speed of light. Unfortunately it is supposedly impossible to transmit anything meaningful along the line.
But by partially encoding qubits like this and then transmitting the key traditionally, you manage to make nearly unbreakable quantum encryption. You can’t intercept the quantum transmission, so all you can ever see is the key. That means no man in the middle attacks, no snooping, and much, much more security.
But before we see quantum teleported states used for perfect encryption, we’ll need to boost the speed of the transmission. China’s Juan Yin and his team only managed to transmit 5 qubits a minute. For comparison, 1 kBps is 1024 bytes a second, or 8192 bits every second. That is a lot more information.
Regardless, this is quite the achievement. Quantum teleportation has been touted as the ultimate network for years. And now it turns out we might be able to implement a quantum internet in our lifetime.