Teleportation is one of those sci-fi technologies which at once takes us to a fictional world where one can easily transport from a location to another at a blink of an eye, no matter how far the distance between them is.
You have seen the teleportation in sci-fi movies like Star Trek, X-Men, Jumper, and Dr. Strange etc where People stand in a portal or create a portal and instantaneously reach to the other side of the earth or the universe.
The technology has been known for many years and many great scientists had researched on it. But it is too futuristic that even in the 21st century people take it either as a magic or a fiction.
Many years before when a scientist claimed that actual Teleportation is possible, he at once became the topic of people’s jokes. Even today if you say this to you colleague or friend, he will definitely laugh at you.
But, that doesn’t mean it can’t be possible because scientists successfully teleported a light particle photon. And since then, many experiments took place where they got success.
It’s just a beginning to get this faster-than-light transportation technology. There still needs a long way to travel.
But What exactly is Teleportation?
Teleportation is the transportation of an object or person from one location to another without traveling any physical distance by an object/person. In the real world, the teleportation defies the law of physics because it’s based on the faster-than-light speed transportation which is not possible acc. to Einstein’s theory of Special Relativity.
Actual teleportation is still a mystery for the scientists. Scientists only have teleported a subatomic particle, i.e. Photon. The transfer of an atom or a molecule is still a big problem to the researchers.
Prof Kaku, known as Mr. Parallel Universe for his futuristic claims, which also include the possibility of real time-travel and invisibility, has studied various sci-fi technologies deemed impossible and concluded some will eventually happen.
He said: “A lot of things you see on Star Trek will, in fact, be possible – like the teleporter.”
Teleportation is not just a difficult task but with full of confusion too. Scientists applied only one method to teleport an object. But, there are others too.
Lets discuss them below.
How could we teleport?
There are three ways found to teleport from one place to another.
- One has to map all atoms in a body in one microsecond and create exact copy somewhere else. A primary copy will be destroyed and the clone will be the only survivor.
- Wormhole, the second option, is a fiction path that got famous from the sci-fi movies like Interstellar. Hypothetically, Wormhole is simply the shortest bridge which takes you across the universe. Some scientists claim that it is related to a black hole and other think wormholes work opposite to it.
- Using space-time warps, so we can enter at one place and exit to another part of the universe. The concept of space-time is proven mathematically by the effect it has on objects however whether it exists in the real physical universe or it is some property of empty space or mass is not proved. So first we should have space-time then we need to find a way to bend it as per our specification.
These are the known method of teleportation, however, the second and third methods are impossible because both are hypothetical and exist only in fiction universe. So, the only doable thing is method one. A machine will disintegrate all the atoms of your body which is nearly 1028 and sends all atoms in seconds where another machine will reintegrate you. But the real thing is that the original (meaning you as a person) will be destroyed in teleportation and your clone constructs on the other side.
Surely it will make a clone of you with the same atoms, but the question is if the clone is real you or the other person with same qualities like you had.
Here comes the paradox.
To find the answer, we take the example of Ship of Theseus. Assume you have a ship, if you remove all the components of every part of the ship, Will it be the same ship?
Find the answer and write in the comment box.
Why is Teleportation not possible from current science perspective?
Too much Information
The total data for each human cell was calculated as about 10 billion bits and one cell contains enough information to replicate any other type of cell in the body. To rebuild a person, one must know the full information of the traveler’s brain as well, which brings the number of total information content to about 2.6*1042 bits.
Too much Time
If the bandwidth needed to perform the transfer will be around 30 GHz, it would take 4.85×1015 years to complete. For comparison, the universe is theorized to be around 14 billion years old, which means teleporting a human from Earth to a spot in orbit directly above would take 350,000 times longer than the universe has existed.
You would’ve died long before you reached your destination unless of course the teleportation process also somehow preserves you. If it could preserve your data, it likely wouldn’t preserve you. So the real you would be dead anyway, and a newly minted copy would be walking around, not acting entirely like you.
This is impractical with the current science. However, it could be possible; maybe in future, when science becomes advanced enough to make these tasks practically possible. This will take too much information and too much time and a fine study to give it a chance.
Role of Quantum Physics in Teleportation
The quantum physics tech used in teleportation is known as Quantum Teleportation. It is a process by which quantum information is sent from one location to another with the help of quantum entanglement between sending and receiving signals.
I know some of you are confusing with the term Quantum Entanglement.
Don’t worry, because it is really confusing. No person can understand quantum physics to a satisfactory degree, even Albert Einstein.
Quantum entanglement has many areas of application, including secure encryption, ultra-fast quantum computers, ghost imaging, telepathy, and perhaps the most interesting one, teleportation.
Two or more quantum particles can be linked together in a special way; this makes them behave like one entity. A change in one of the constituent particles can instantly be observed in the other, independent of the distance between the particles. This phenomenon was called “entanglement” by the Austrian physicist Erwin Schrödinger.
Quantum entanglement to what we mean is that two particles (or more) like electrons are defined by the same wave function! Now, electrons are a type of particle called fermions. This means that the Pauli Exclusion Principle applies to them.
Then each quantum state can be occupied by only one electron (or fermions). Think of it like only one electron can place on one side. When an electron occupies a chair, the next electron must move on the next side directly opposite to it.
In quantum entanglement, to find a certain state of the electron we have to filter it, because of Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle, then we can know about the state of the electron and due to entanglement the other electron state must be opposite.
The feature of entanglement is that it works in the mixed state, which is called entanglement swapping.
Like, if particle A is entangled with particle B and particle B is entangled with particle C then, particle A and C are also in entanglement.
Quantum Teleportation has proven to teleport an atom or say a qubit to between two entangled atoms, yet this is not achieved to a molecule. The main thing is that this entanglement only applies to transfer of information not any body, till now.
Achievements in Teleportation
The real thing is that we haven’t achieved anything big yet. But, it is also not easy to teleport a single atom from one distance to another, however small is distance. Scientists started the experiments with the light particle photon, but there are electrons, ions and atoms for further experiment.
In 1998, physicists at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech), along with two European groups, made IBM’s teleportation theory a reality by successfully teleporting a photon
In 2002, researchers at the Australian National University successfully teleported a laser beam, and in 2006, a team at Denmark’s Niels Bohr Institute teleported information stored in a laser beam into a cloud of atoms about 1.6 feet (half a meter) away.
In 2012, researchers at the University of Science and Technology of China made a new teleportation record. They teleported a photon 60.3 miles (97 kilometers), 50.3 miles (81 kilometers) farther than the previous record. Just two years later, European physicists were able to teleport quantum information through an ordinary optical fiber used for telecommunications.
And recently, in July, the scientists of China, again, teleported a photon from Earth to the Orbit, a total distance of 300 miles and broke the previous record.
In the future, the target will be a group of atoms or a molecule which they claim to be successful till 2020. Not only this, they will also teleport particles to the moon, as claimed by Professor Michio Kaku of City University, New York.
It all comes down to moving information from one location to other, whether it is New York to Paris or Earth to Mars, once teleportation will possible all distance seems equally separated. But the possibility of teleportation is the major standing question now.
Quantum science is too spooky to understand. Even some researchers are buzzed by it, even Albert Einstein. But, Physicist like Professor Michio Kaku makes us believe that one day teleportation will surely happen, not today but someday.
And when it is possible to teleport a human, don’t get bothered by destroying yourself to make a clone of yours. It is science after all, and science brings good and bad as well.
Author: Vipin Singh is a Marketing Analyst in GreyB Services, a patent research company from Singapore with offices in India and US.