Science Questions

Will we soon be able to teleport?

Sun, 29th Jan 2012

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Dr. Raj Thacker, via Twitter asked:

Will we soon be able to teleport?


At the moment there are some people doing incredibly subtle experiments which mean you can get all the information about a single particle - its position and its direction - and then translate that information to somewhere else.  This research is still happening on single photons.  I think doing the same for a whole person certainly isn't going to happen in our lifetime.


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Not to be too hard on Dave, but you can't really get the position and momentum of a single particle.  You're always facing the uncertainty principle when you're trying to measure a single particle.  There's actually a theorem with the catchy name the "no cloning theorem" that says you can't copy a quantum state perfectly.

The experiments I know of to get around this have to do with having many identically created particles.  Each single measurement can't give you more information than the uncertainty principle allows, but if you take many measurements on different particles and average them, you can get an average that is better than you would for a single particle.  This won't be of use for teleporting people, however. jpetruccelli, Tue, 31st Jan 2012

No not ever no how for a complex living organism. Soul Surfer, Tue, 31st Jan 2012

I agree that teleportation is a rather silly concept.

I doubt we'll ever be able to even teleport even inanimate objects such as a bar of gold, or a diamond ring.

At best we'll be able to clone an item down to the molecular level.  But there would be no reason to destroy the original.  Well, unless it involves some type of histology.  Nor would we be limited to producing a single copy.

But, even cloning every molecule in a simple living organism would be a big task.

Would people be willing to subject themselves to a destructive molecular analysis and cloning? CliffordK, Wed, 1st Feb 2012

Although I fully agree with both SoulSurfer and JP :)

There is a way to 'teleport' particles, at least their 'state'. Although what it does is more like creating an 'exact replica' of one photon 'A' state/polarization and then setting another photon 'B' to the same state, using entanglement.

'Teleportation' from a QM perspective.

What one might wonder here is if it is possible to define that as a 'teleportation' at all, as it involves two particles? yor_on, Wed, 1st Feb 2012

True, Yor_on: the entanglement case is often called "teleportation" because it's a catch name, and because the quantum information is shared between the particles without apparently having to propagate over the space between them.  The catch is that you need to prepare two particles in advance that are quantum mechanically entangled.  Having entangled particles in the human-teleportation case would mean you already having two copies of a human body, so its hardly the case of a Star Trek style teleporter. jpetruccelli, Wed, 1st Feb 2012

"Nothing" it seems, is no longer nothing; so perhaps "teleportation" is no longer teleportation.  If this is the case, anything is possible. Bill S, Wed, 1st Feb 2012

I don't know if it's true but I heard that someone at a Star Trek convention once asked the actor who played Sulu "How do the Heisenberg compensators work?".
He replied "Very well thank you" and walked away.

Unless someone finds a way round the uncertainty principle the idea of teleportation of anything complicated is dead in the water.
(And by "complicated", I mean something like a single sugar molecule) Bored chemist, Wed, 1st Feb 2012

I have always considered one of the many bars to teleportation to be the vast amount of information you must collect and transmit regarding the position of every atom in the original and the transported body.  syhprum, Wed, 1st Feb 2012

Well as for my understanding of E=mc2, a mass at speed c2 can be converted to Energy. This energy may be teleported to any place by any means and converted back. The problem lies in achieving c2. Durgesh Dubhashi, Tue, 28th Feb 2012

Your understanding is faulty Durgesh the energy applies when the mass is standing still if it is moving it has more energy. If you convert mass into energy the form of that mass is lost and becomes the form of energy that you have turned it into.  the process cannot be reversed with certainty Soul Surfer, Tue, 28th Feb 2012

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