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Quantum Teleportation Breakthrough

I like to keep readers up to date on new communications technologies, even if they are still in the lab. It is surprising how fast some (MIMO, for example) can make it into the field.

I've written about quantum teleportation in the past, and a breakthrough by a team led by Professor Akira Furusawa and researchers at the University of Tokyo, along with Professor Elanor Huntington and researchers at the University of South Wales Canberra campus, could make it easier to use quantum communications in real world applications.

"One of the limitations of high-speed quantum communication at present is that some detail is lost during the teleportation process," Huntington said. "It's the Star Trek equivalent of beaming the crew down to a planet and having their organs disappear or materialize in the wrong place. We're talking about information but the principle is the same—it allows us to guarantee the integrity of transmission. Just about any quantum technology relies on quantum teleportation. The value of this discovery is that it allows us, for the first time, to quickly and reliably move quantum information around."

Huntington further observed that such information can be transmitted via light, and that this would be a powerful way for representing and processing information.

"Previous attempts to transmit were either very slow or the information might be changed, Huntington said. "This process means we will be able to move blocks of quantum information around within a computer or across a network, just as we do now with existing computer technologies. If we can do this, we can do just about any form of communication needed for any quantum technology."

The experiments were conducted using the "teleporter" in Professor Akira Furusawa's laboratory in the Department of Applied Physics at the University of Tokyo

Results are published in the April edition of the Journal Science. While the article is only available for Science subscribers or those who pay for the individual article, supporting material describing the how the experiment was set up and conducted and figures describing the experiment are available on-line at no charge.

A summary is available in the University of New South Wales news release Quantum teleporter breakthrough.

Doug Lung is one of America's foremost authorities on broadcast RF technology. He has been with NBC since 1985 and is currently vice president of broadcast technology for NBC/Telemundo stations.