“˜Beam me up Scotty’ is a phrase familiar to fans of the sci-fi television series Star Trek, in which the crew of the Star Ship Enterprise are teleported around the cosmos during their many adventures.
Though teleportation of large objects or people remains nothing more than a fantasy, scientists are making great strides in quantum teleportation, or entanglement as they prefer to call it.
The field of quantum mechanics is on the very outer limits of our current understanding of the laws of physics, but nonetheless major advances are being made on a regular basis.
American scientists working on the Canary islands of Tenerife and La Palma have recently made a huge leap forward in the transmission of entangled photon, sending them a distance of 89 miles between the two islands.
Their achievement is ten times the distance entangled photons – a photon is an individual particle of light – have previously been transmitted.
Using laser equipment, the researchers created entangled pairs of photons in La Palma and fired one photon from each pair to a European Space Agency telescope on Tenerife. The phenomenon is known as the Spooky Quantum Link.
This technology could ultimately lead to the development a new and totally secure system of sending scrambled messages that cannot be intercepted without corrupting the information they contain.
It may be a very small step for mankind, but who knows – maybe in thousands or even just hundreds of years time the Star Trek dream may become a reality and man may be able to travel vast distances without having to suffer the indignities of airline food.