The most basic constituents of nature have special properties different from the properties exhibited by objects with significant mass. Small bits of information known as qubits can undergo quantum teleportation (Braunstein 609). The physics behind the behavior of qubits, the fundamental units that constitute quantum information, are poorly understood.
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However, teleportation has been physically demonstrated in several experiments. The concept relies on the theory which states that at the quantum level, a change of state of energy at one-point results in a universal reaction which is a change in all fundamental locations in the universe (Braunstein 611).
Every small movement or change of state of energy at any point in the universe has equal universal reaction. This is known as quantum non-locality (Whitaker 19). It is a proven fact that many events where changes of state of energy occur in the universe cannot be observable by human beings.
However, a few special events can be monitored with scientific instruments. Quantum non-locality is observed at two or more different locations resulting in teleportation (Braunstein 613). The energy state of one point is transferred to another point without any apparent transfer of energy.
Humans have succeeded in observing the universal reaction of change of state of energy at one point, one hundred and forty three miles from the location of occurrence of the event of changing of state. Since the event and the observation were at different ends of a single optic fiber, the process was classified as quantum teleportation (Barrett & Chiaverini 2). Thus, teleportation is the observation of the reaction to an event at a particular point when the time and place of occurrence of the real event are known.
One special characteristic of the theory is that no time elapses between the moment of change of state of a fundamental packet of energy and the observation of the reaction at any point. Another special characteristic is that no energy is transmitted whatsoever. Moreover, no mass moves from the location of the event itself (Barrett & Chiaverini 3). The mechanisms behind the phenomenon are not yet well understood by modern scientists.
There are several prerequisites for successful quantum teleportation. The packet of energy to be teleported must be related to the packet that is expected to change at the other end of the teleportation channel. This relation between the two packets of energy is known as quantum entanglement.
One of the two entangled quantum particles must be transmitted by classical means to the observation end of the teleportation channel. This is required so that the change in the state of the particle at the location of the event to be identical to the observed change at the other end.
Teleportation cannot occur if the packets of energy at the two different locations are not entangled. The only event in which time is consumed is the transmission of one of the entangled states to the observation point (Barrett & Chiaverini 1). The subsequent changes in either of the pair of particles results in an equivalent change at the other end of the quantum teleportation channel.
It is important to distinguish quantum teleportation from classical mechanics and the fictional teleportation of matter through communication channels. The particles to be teleported in quantum teleportation are quantum particles. Thus, the normal classical mechanics do not apply to the particles since they do not have the properties of matter at macroscopic level. Quantum teleportation begins by creation of quantum entanglement between two particles.
This is followed by transmission of one of the particles to the observation end of the teleportation exercise. This transmission may seem to nullify the necessity of quantum teleportation. However, after the placement of the two quantum-entangled particles at each end of the teleportation channel, multiple states of the particles can be replicated at either ends of the channel without any conventional communication or transmission of energy (Mochon 4).
Physical transportation of the particle is not a viable option since the quantum-entangled particles would be invariably distorted leading to failure of the teleportation process. With each quantum teleportation cycle, the resulting state at the observation end is almost identical to the real event.
However, there is an infinitesimal distortion of the states of the particles due to the random vibration at the quantum level. Thus, with multiple teleportation cycles, the entanglement of the particles declines (Mochon 2). This requires the quantum entanglement between the particles to be replenished to continue quantum teleportation. This phenomenon differs from the normal communication since the information cannot be broadcasted.
Quantum physics does not allow broadcast of information in the process of quantum teleportation. Another limitation in quantum teleportation is that a photon cannot be measured so that the information can be replicated at the other end of the channel. The random vibrations of particles at quantum level make it impossible to measure the state of the energy. Only the magnitude of the quantum energy is measurable (Mochon 10).
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In addition, teleportation is only applicable at quantum level. Three-dimensional particles cannot undergo quantum teleportation. Fundamental quantum particles are regarded as dimensionless in classical physics, and one-dimensional in modern theories of relativity. Thus, they do not satisfy the requirements for a conventional particle (Davis 19)
In a practical experiment, classical bits of information are used to execute the teleportation cycle. Since the entangled particles have a quantum relation, they use the classical bits to change their states to match each other. While the transmission of the classical bits takes time, teleportation itself does not consume any time (Davis 22).
If the state to be teleported is at point A, than the quantum particle which state is to be matched is at point B, at the end of the teleportation channel. Particle B will be in the original state of A, while A will be in another undefined form when teleportation is complete. However, the quantity at B has never physically interacted with the quantity at A. The undefined state of particle-A is a result of its distortion during the process of sending of the required classical bits.
In addition, the theory stresses that no measurement of particle-A has taken place. Accurate measurement of quantum particles is not possible since an attempt to measure the energy of the particle results to great disturbance of the state of the particle (Davis 50). Therefore, accurate results cannot be obtained.
Since it is not possible to measure quantum particles, scientists usually scan the particle partially so that they obtain the classical bit. In the beginning of the research on quantum teleportation, scientists hoped that the process could be used for communication without actually using any time in the transmission of information.
This proved to be an impossible practical application. Teleportation of the states does not involve time consumption. However, the classical bits used to initiate the teleportation process travel at a velocity less than the speed of light (Davis 50). Time elapses during the process. Thus, teleportation cannot be used to send information at a speed higher than the ultimate velocity, the speed of light.
The main element of teleportation is the spin. It defines the state of the quantum particle. All subatomic particles have a characteristic spin that defines the magnitude of their energy and the state or direction of the energy. A single spin can be teleported in each teleportation cycle.
Large objects consist of an infinite number of spins since all matter is made up of energy. If these spins could be teleported at the same instance without any disturbance of their states, teleportation of large objects such as human beings is possible (Zhang et al. 9). However, teleportation seems to result in a slight modification of the spin in a quantum particle. Thus, trying to teleport a large object would definitely destroy the structure of the object (Zhang et al. 8).
Quantum teleportation is a proven concept. However, it is only applicable at quantum level at the moment. It is argued that if scientists figure out a way to teleport human beings from one place to another in future, it will be impossible to keep them alive.
This is because of the problem of teleporting consciousness, which is a characteristic of all human beings. Consciousness is usually separate from the physical operation of the human body. The fabric of consciousness has not yet been described in scientific terms. Although consciousness seems to be related to quantum non-locality, it is said to thrive in another plane of existence other that the one known to scientists.
Thus, it is impossible to teleport consciousness, which is a major component of life. At the moment, it is not possible to apply quantum teleportation on matter. Quantum teleportation is not a viable means of transport in the near future because the field of quantum mechanics and quantum non-locality has not yet been understood to a satisfactory level by scientists. However, quantum teleportation presents possibilities of faster computing in future.
Barrett, M. D., and J. Chiaverini. “Deterministic Quantum Teleportation.” Letters to Nature 429.6 (2004): 1-3. Print.
Braunstein, Samuel. “Quantum Teleportation.” Fortschr. Phys. 15.2 (2002): 608-613. Print.
Davis, Eric. “Teleportation Physics Study.” Airforce Research Laboratory 34.2 (2003): 10-76. Print.
Mochon, Carlos. “Introduction to Quantum Teleportation.” Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics 2.1 (2006): 1-11. Print.
Zhang, Lei, Jacob Barhen, and Hua-Kuang Liu. “Experimental and Theoretical Aspects of Quantum Teleportation.” Center for Engineering Science Advanced Research 1.1 (2007): 1-9. Print.