IS TELEPORTATION ACHIEVABLE? AN INSIGHT INTO A PECULIAR QUANTUM MECHANICS CONCEPT

Nicola Stanislawska

Teleportation. A concept so abstract to us, humans, that our comprehension of it and its usage is limited to what we see in science fiction literature, film, and video games. But is it possible to transfer matter or energy from one point to another without travelling the physical space between them? If so, what are its limits and what will it look like?

In the 1930s, Albert Einstein investigated a thought experiment in which, according to quantum mechanics, an event at one point in the universe can affect another far away no matter the difference of distance. Einstein did not believe this could be possible as it would mean that this communication could be faster than the speed of light, which was against his theory of relativity. But it is commonly known that in the quantum world, extremely small objects do not obey the rules of classical mechanics, experiencing many peculiar phenomena. And so, quantum mechanics is right, and Einstein was wrong. Even though we still don’t fully comprehend its workings, this magical theory is now proven to be true and is called quantum entanglement.

So, what is quantum entanglement?

If objects are entangled one object’s state depends on another object’s state, meaning we can determine the state of all objects interacting together while only knowing one of these states.

Every electron in an atom has 4 levels of identification consisting of 4 quantum numbers that help to understand the configuration and probable location of electrons within an atom. One of these numbers is the electron spin quantum number. Spin is the amount of angular momentum associated with a subatomic particle or nucleolus (Britannica). An electron can either have a positive spin (spin up) or negative spin (spin down) but naturally exist in a state of superposition, which is a combination of both states. Yet, when measured, they give a value of either spin up or spin down. Once electrons are entangled, they can only have an opposite spin. This means that if 2 electrons, both currently in a superposition state, are separated and measured, through measuring the state of one of them we will know that the other must be in an opposite state. This will be the case no matter the distance between the electrons, which means that this information travels instantaneous and is faster than the speed of light.

This phenomenon can be harnessed in quantum computing, where instead of spin up and spin down, a qubit (quantum analogue of a classical bit) can be in the 0, 1 or superposition state. Through the entanglement of qubits, the data of what state the qubit is in is teleported.

So yes, teleportation is possible but only in the quantum world due to the entanglement of quantum objects. This property is already harnessed in Quantum Computing, the Quantum Logic Clock and Quantum Cryptography, but again, this is solely the teleportation of data. Perhaps, it’s not the expected type of teleportation where humans can enter a machine and find themselves in a different place in the universe instantaneously, but still is a peculiar and magic-like phenomenon that we cannot yet fully grasp. We must wait and see what the future beholds for this spooky phenomenon and its usages.