Are you fascinated with science-fiction? Have you ever imagined yourself to have a magical superpower of teleporting from one place to another? Just think how easy life would have been if only those fantasies were real!
Well, good news for you, dreamer! Scientists have been teleporting particles for quite a long time now. In 1993 the idea first surfaced by Charles Bennett, and found a rock-solid base till date. News says that last December a group of Chinese scientists could teleport a particle beyond the earthly limits; that is to say, they made a photon, a light particle disappear from earth and reappear in one of the Chinese satellites at the same instant of time, covering a distance of 1470 Km. The key behind this is a phenomenon called “Quantum Entanglement”. Two particles kept at a distant can be linked in a way so that if you change the anything about any one of them, there is an instantaneous effect on the other. So, despite the physical distance between them, they are connected. Physicists use this connection, namely, entanglement to teleport the third particle.
Let’s say two friends Amit and Bikash have a pair of those entangled particles. Now they can teleport any other particle amongst themselves, even if Amit stays in Ahmedabad and Bikas in Kolkata. Amit needs to interact the new particle he wants to send to Bikash with the particle of the entangled pair which is in his possession and just has to make a phone call to Bikash to tell him the result of his interaction. Bikash’s particle of the entangled pair at Kolkata has already changed itself due to the interaction Amit played on its partner in Ahmedabad. The phone call will reveal what is the current ‘state’ of Bikash’s particle. Given that Amit and Bikash had used correct apparatus prescribed by the scientists for this miracle to work, the particle Bikash now possess is the one Amit wanted to transfer. It had disappeared from Ahmedabad, and reappeared in Kolkata in absolutely no time!
The science junkies can question me here, “How does this particle can travel from Ahmedabad to Kolkata in no time, which is faster than light? Are you trying to question Einstein?” Well, no! The crux here is the phone call! Until Amit calls Bikash, Bikash is in utter darkness about the particle in his hand. So, till the call comes, practically, teleportation did not happen. Which of course gives rise to various sets of other questions: “then what happened? Did the particle traveled and just Bikash did not know? Or the particle did not travel at all until Amit made that call?”
The answer lies in another beautiful aspect of the quantum realm of information: “Quantum Measurements”, which explains the famous mystery of the great scientist Schrodinger and his half-living half-dead cat. But that’s a story for another day! Until then, please note that teleportation of quantum particles is possible, and let’s hope, someday same would be the case for living beings and humans! After all,“Magic’s just science that we don’t understand yet.”