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Teleportation is a thing of science fiction but is it impossible in our reality? Well, Chinese physicists managed to teleport photons over 97kms using quantum entanglement. The previous record, set in 2010, was only 16km so the physicists are hopeful that they will soon be able to make the technology feasible. Such technology would enable an ultra-secure communications system that is immune to eavesdropping.

The important thing to note here is that while perhaps a first step, this technology is far from teleporting any biological life anywhere. The physical object is not teleported, but rather, the information that describes it. If anybody read my article on Hawking’s Information Paradox, you would know a little about what I mean by information. The gist of it is that all matter has information (measured in bits) that describes every feature of that physical existence. Given such information, one could reconstruct an exact duplicate. An analogy that might help is if you had exact architectural plans, building materials, etc. for a building that just collapsed, you could reconstruct it the exact same way. This applies to all physical things, including humans and even subatomic particles.

Quantum entanglement is the mysterious link between certain particles in which they can share the same values (such as spin rate) even when separated over large (and theoretically infinite) distances. If two particles that have an entanglement link are far apart, say 97km, and one of those particles is takes on a certain property, the other particle will instantaneously do the same thing. The major difficulty of this is that the link itself is very fragile; it is very easy to break the entanglement. The Chinese scientists used a guide laser to make the entangled photons appear at two separate locations (97km apart) at the same time in a way that could be experimentally measured.

As mentioned above, this technology, at the moment, is mainly for communications. Nothing is faster than instant communication (imagine downloading anything literally instantly) and nothing can be safer because you’d have a hard time intercepting information that didn’t technically “travel” through any space.

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