Researchers quadruple distance record for quantum teleportation

23 Sep 2015

While it might sound like something from science fiction, the news that researchers have quadrupled the distance of quantum information teleportation is still a big deal for quantum computing.

The quantum teleportation was achieved by researchers from the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) in the US by transmitting quantum information through light particles across a distance of more than 100km of fibre-optic cable.

With the previous record being just over 25km, this new record confirms their thesis that the sending of quantum teleportation is possible over long distances, which will greatly play into the continued development of both quantum communication and quantum computing.

The teleportation record was achieved by sending the quantum information from NIST’s base in Boulder, Colorado to the state’s city namesake using their new single-photon detectors.

However, there was a serious drop-off in the amount of quantum information sent from Boulder to Colorado, NIST’s Marty Stevens said.

Developing a ‘quantum internet’

“Only about 1pc of photons make it all the way through 100km of fibre. We never could have done this experiment without these new detectors, which can measure this incredibly weak signal.”

Likewise, because of the limited combination of quantum states, teleportation could be successful in only 25 percent of the transmissions.

With potential future applications in advanced code-breaking and near-unbreakable encryption methods, NIST said these new findings published in Opitca could lead to the development of devices called quantum repeaters.

These repeaters would act as conduits to the quantum information, ensuring greater amounts of information makes it across large distances and one-day leading to a ‘quantum internet’.

Quantum teleportation

Infographic via K. Irvine/NIST

Teleportation image via Shutterstock

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic