Debunked: First object teleported to Earth's orbit [Quantum Communication]

Mick West

Staff member

A misleading headline is making people think that a physical object has been teleported from the ground into space, leading to all kinds of excitement and speculation about Star Trek style teleporters.

In fact nothing like that has happened at all, if you actually listen to the BBC piece, you'll find that what has been transmitted is just information. Nothing physical has moved from the ground into space.

There's a similarly misleading story from MIT's Technology Review.
The sub-headline is somewhat less misleading as a photon (a "particle" of light) is not exactly an object. But even here the photon itself (one of an entangled pair of photons) did not magically jump from the ground into space. In fact it traveled there in the normal way by shining a laser up through the atmosphere to a receiver on the satellite or shining a laser from the satellite down to Earth.

There's a much better explanation at Science Magazine:

The confusion here comes down to terminology, as described in Wikipedia
The reason the satellite "teleportation" is so interesting is that once the quantum information is in space it can be transmitted to other ground stations, or other satellite much more effectively with lasers due to the lack of atmosphere. This allows the creation of a large scale quantum communication network.

What this experiment is really about is secure communication. In particular it can be used as a way for the military to transmit information in a way that would be impossible to intercept (unlike current radio transmissions). This makes it very useful to the military, and explains why the Chinese are doing so much work on it.

It's not a Star Trek teleporter though, sorry.
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Senior Member.
It is being peer reviewed as we speak
this isn't the right paper? or is "science mag" one of those fake journals?

Martin Irving

New Member
this isn't the right paper? or is "science mag" one of those fake journals?
I have no idea whether science mag is fake news or not, I myself do not refer to it and indeed have never heard of it till now.

Mick West

Staff member
I have no idea whether science mag is fake news or not, I myself do not refer to it and indeed have never heard of it till now.

Science is one of the oldest, largest, and most highly respected science journals in existence.

Amber Robot

Active Member
Science is one of the oldest, largest, and most highly respected science journals in existence.

Yes. It's generally considered pretty prestigious to get an article published in Science. It's typically reserved for the highest impact, most exciting results.


Does current scientific elite understand by which mechanism two particles/vawes get entangled? To my understanding, all those spooky actions at a distance are happening in a somehow closed system created by experimenter which could itself explain entanglement.


Senior Member.
Many particle interactions can cause entanglement. For example, the Hong-Ou-Mandel effect and collision cascades happen naturally, though in less observable and manipulatable ways. For less weird events, the electron cloud around any atom with more than one electron is an entangled system, and transition spectroscopy has shown that the photosynthesis process involves entangled photons, which in turn explained why it was so much more efficient than traditional stoichiometric chemistry suggested should be possible.

It's true that a lot of what we know (or rather, confirmed from the Standard Model predictions) comes from extremely controlled conditions, but it's less that those conditions are required for entanglement and more that observation and manipulation requires systems with very few particles that are safe from interaction by outside particles. We can tell that entanglement occurs in photosynthesis, but we can't really do anything about it because of all the numerous different particles "contaminating" the field.
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