‘Star Trek technology made real’: Scientists teleport images using light

JOHANNESBURG, South Africa — Beam me up, Scotty! Teleportation is finally becoming reality, as an international research team has achieved a groundbreaking feat in quantum communication. Their research demonstrates for the first time the ability to “teleport” images across a network without physically sending the image itself.

This cutting-edge technique involves the quantum transport of information in high-dimensional states, surpassing previous limitations of quantum communication. Unlike traditional methods where information is physically transmitted, this new approach utilizes a teleportation-inspired configuration, ensuring the information doesn’t physically travel between the communicating parties.

Quantum communication, essential for information security, has been previously confined to two-dimensional states (qubits) transmitted over long distances, even between satellites. This method, akin to sending classical bits (1s and 0s), has limitations. However, quantum optics can expand the “alphabet,” enabling the encoding of more complex systems, like a fingerprint or a face, in a single transmission, according to researchers from the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg and The Institute of Photonic Sciences (ICFO) in Spain.

(credit: University of the Witwatersrand)

“Traditionally, two communicating parties physically send the information from one to the other, even in the quantum realm,” says lead principal investigator Andrew Forbes, professor at Wits University, in a university release. “Now, it is possible to teleport information so that it never physically travels across the connection — a ‘Star Trek’ technology made real.”

Previously, teleportation has been limited to three-dimensional states, requiring additional entangled photons for higher dimensions. The study marks the first experimental demonstration of quantum transport in high-dimensional states using just two entangled photons, making it seem as though information is “teleported” from sender to receiver.

A key advancement is the use of a nonlinear optical detector, which eliminates the need for extra photons and works for any “pattern” that needs to be sent. They’ve achieved a new record of 15 dimensions, with potential for even higher dimensions.

One practical application of this technology is in banking. For example, a customer can send a fingerprint to a bank without physically transferring the information. The bank sends an entangled photon to the customer, who then uses a nonlinear detector to combine it with the information to be sent. This results in the information appearing at the bank as if it were teleported. This method prevents interception, as no information is physically sent.

“This protocol has all the hallmarks of teleportation except for one essential ingredient: it requires a bright laser beam to make the nonlinear detector efficient, so that the sender could know what is to be sent, but doesn’t need to know,” explains Forbes. “In this sense, it is not strictly teleportation, but could be in the future if the nonlinear detector could be made more efficient.”

(credit: University of the Witwatersrand)

“We hope that this experiment showing the feasibility of the process motivates further advances in the nonlinear optics community through pushing the limits towards a full quantum implementation,” says Dr. Adam Vallés from ICFO (Barcelona), one of the leads on the project who worked on the experiment during his postdoctoral fellowship at Wits University.

“We have to be cautious now, as this configuration could not prevent a cheating sender from keeping better copies of the information to be teleported, which means we could end up with many Mr. Spock clones in the ‘Star Trek’ world if that is what Scotty wanted.”

Looking ahead, the team plans to focus on quantum transport across optical fiber networks, pushing the boundaries of quantum communication.

The study is published in the journal Nature Communications.

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  1. Tele-transportatiom of real image is one important step for initiation of star trek.But,this is simply an external view;consciousness plays more role in then for internal tele-transportation of pathos in senses and brain,has yet long journey to pave following nature.

  2. And now that we are using Lazers to create matter we are almost at the age of Magic

  3. Star Trek teleportation is breaking the physical down to energy and sending that energy to a receiver to rebuild it, basically turning the physical digital, transmitting it and then back to physical again. Moving information from one location to another without transmitting it has literally nothing in common with Star Trek teleportation.

    Where is does find commonality is the sci-fi concept of quantum teleportation, taking something and transplacing it to somewhere else without crossing the intervening space. Completely different concept, and what they’re literally working on.

    Calling a car a cargo ship to convey that it’s a moving vehicle is completely nonsensical, especially when we know what a car is.

  4. This is nowhere near the “Star Trek” style of teleportation. This article simply describes laser communication, as even stated in that a laser is required to “beam the information.” Saying that no information is physically transferred also describes a movie projector; the film doesn’t get put onto the screen just the images when a bright light is shone behind it.
    The only revolutionary idea of this proposed technology is the speed at which the communication could happen. Waiting a few seconds after tapping your debit card could be reduced to approvals before you even lift the card up a millimeter. Faster approval, faster Starbucks coffee.

    1. Wow. You’re obviously a top scientist in (any) field so I immediately believe you are absolutely correct. And by correct, I mean clueless as all get out.

  5. “Teleporting images using light…” Wow! Hello… the technology has been around for decades – it’s called ‘Television’.

    1. Everything are illusions projected by our intent to be surrounded with that which makes us comfortable. Even our ‘bodies’ are projected images. There is no form, only format. So it is expressed that we are ‘images’ of our Creator, in format!

  6. what the true end result has to be is in order for this to work, when the source gets created in the “quantum verse”, there is the entangled ‘reflection’ elsewhere in the quantum verse.
    You don’t know where the reflection is – all you know is that there’s a reflection created somewhere so you have to be able to tell the reflection where it needs to be sent. You never have to locate the ‘entangled’ reflection only – tell it where to go.

    That way the reflection will appear as it is on the source end. The only thing that is transferred is a physical address of where the reflection is to go to.

    After that instead of creating a copy of the source, we need the entangled reflection to become the source at the point address in space of where it’s supposed to go.

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