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Scientists break quantum data teleportation distance record

Scientists have broken the distance record in the teleportation of quantum data. This sentence has so much sci-fi in it, from "teleportation“, to "quantum data“, making it sound even cooler than it actually is.

According to a report by NIST, scientists at the US' National Institute of Standards and Technology have managed to transport the information from one photon to another across 63 miles of optical fibre (100 kilometres).

This is four times the previous record.

“Not to be confused with Star Trek’s fictional “beaming up” of people, quantum teleportation involves the transfer, or remote reconstruction, of information encoded in quantum states of matter or light,” it says in the press release.

The new record involved the transfer of quantum information contained in one photon—its specific time slot in a sequence—to another photon transmitted over 102 km of spooled fibre in a NIST laboratory in Colorado.

“Only about 1 percent of photons make it all the way through 100 km of fiber,” NIST’s Marty Stevens says. “We never could have done this experiment without these new detectors, which can measure this incredibly weak signal.”

The new record has had people talking about a “quantum internet”. Until now, much of quantum data was lost in fibre that transmission rates and distances were low, but this new technique could see the creation of quantum repeaters that could resend data periodically in order to extend network reach.

The biggest challenges are to extend the range of quantum teleportation, and to increase the percentage of successful teleportations, which currently sits at 83 per cent.