Teleporting a step closer
to quantum computing
COLLEGE PARK, Md. – It’s not “Star
Trek,” but it does seem like science fiction. Researchers from the Joint Quantum
Institute at the University of Maryland
have for the first time teleported information from one atom to another at a distance of 1 m, without the data passing
through any physical medium.
Because atoms can store quantum
bits – or qubits – the technique
could be used to hold and manage
quantum data over long distances,
something not feasible before.
“This is a new way to pipe around
quantum information,” said physics
professor and research team leader
Christopher Monroe. Such long-distance quantum communication
theoretically would be completely
secure and immune to eavesdropping. Attempts at quantum communication are in their infancy,
limited in part by short-range
capabilities. Other uses of the new
technique include multiparty
communications in something
akin to a quantum Internet or in
quantum computing, which,
because of its nature, can solve
certain problems that classical
computing cannot handle
These applications are possible, in part, because a qubit,
unlike a classical bit, is a superposition of
two or more states. A qubit remains in this
combination of yes and no until a measurement is made.
In demonstrating its scheme, Moore’s
team used two ytterbium ions, holding
them in unconnected vacuum traps sepa-
For the first time, researchers have
stored information in one trapped atom
(below), then teleported it across a
distance of 1 m (diagrammed on right;
setup shown on next page) to a different atom.
Images courtesy of Curt Suplee, Joint Quantum
Institute and the University of Maryland.
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