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Teleportation - Reality: Beyond Science Fiction
Teleportation - Reality: Beyond Science Fiction
Anonim

For the heroes of science fiction films, teleportation is a common thing. One press of a button - and they dissolve in the air, so that in a couple of seconds they find themselves hundreds and thousands of kilometers away: in another country or even on another planet.

Is such a movement really possible, or will teleportation forever remain a dream of writers and screenwriters? Is there any research being carried out in this area - and are we even a little closer to the implementation of the technology so familiar to the heroes of fantastic action movies?

The short answer to this question is yes, experiments are underway, and very actively. Moreover, scientists regularly publish articles in scientific journals about successful experiments in quantum teleportation - to ever greater and greater distances.

And although many famous physicists doubt that we will ever be able to teleport people, some experts are much more optimistic and assure that teleports will become a reality in a few decades.

Lies, rumors and stories

First, let's clarify what exactly we are talking about. By teleportation, we mean the instantaneous movement of objects at any distance, ideally faster than the speed of light.

The word itself was invented in 1931 by the American publicist Charles Fort, who was fond of researching the paranormal. By analogy with "television", derived from the Greek τῆλε ("far") and the Latin video ("to see"), in his book "Volcanoes of Heaven" he invented a term to describe the inexplicable movements of objects in space (Latin porto means "to carry") …

“In this book, I primarily look at the evidence that there is some kind of transference force, which I call teleportation. I will be accused of piecing together outright lies, rumors, fables, hoaxes and superstitions. In a way, I think so myself. And in a sense, no. I'm just providing data, "writes Fort.

There are indeed many myths about such movements - for example, the widespread legend about the Philadelphia experiment of 1943, during which the American destroyer Eldridge was allegedly teleported 320 km.

However, in practice, all such stories turn out to be nothing more than speculation of conspiracy theorists, according to which the authorities hide from the general public any evidence of teleportation cases as a military secret.

In fact, the opposite is true: any achievements in this area are widely discussed in the scientific community. For example, just a week ago, American scientists spoke about a new successful experiment in quantum teleportation.

Let's move from urban legends and fantastic literature to rigorous science.

From point A to point B …

The story of real, not fictional, teleportation began in 1993, when the American physicist Charles Bennett mathematically - using formulas - proved the theoretical possibility of instantaneous quantum displacements.

Of course, these were purely theoretical calculations: abstract equations that have no practical application. However, in the same way - mathematically -, for example, black holes, gravitational waves and other phenomena were already discovered, the existence of which was experimentally confirmed much later.

So Bennett's calculations became a real sensation. Scientists began to actively conduct research in this direction - and the first successful experiment of quantum teleportation was carried out within a few years.

It should be emphasized here that we are talking about quantum teleportation, and this is not exactly the same thing that we are used to seeing in science fiction films.From one place to another, not the material object itself (for example, a photon or an atom - after all, everything consists of atoms) is transmitted, but information about its quantum state. However, in theory, this is enough to "restore" the original object in a new location, having received an exact copy of it. Moreover, such experiments are already being successfully carried out in laboratories - but more on that below.

In the world we are accustomed to, this technology is easiest to compare with a copier or fax: you send not the document itself, but information about it in electronic form - but as a result, the recipient has an exact copy. With the essential difference that in the case of teleportation, the sent material object itself is destroyed, that is, it disappears - and only a copy remains.

Let's try to figure out how this happens.

Does God play dice?

Have you heard about Schrödinger's cat - the one that sits in the box neither alive nor dead? This original metaphor was invented by the Austrian physicist Erwin Schrödinger to describe the mysterious property of elementary particles - superposition. The fact is that quantum particles can simultaneously be in several states at once, which in the world we are accustomed to completely exclude each other. For example, an electron does not revolve around the nucleus of an atom, as we used to think, but is located simultaneously at all points of the orbit (with different probabilities).

Until we opened the cat's box, that is, we did not measure the characteristics of the particle (in our example, we did not determine the exact location of the electron), the cat sitting there is not just alive or dead - it is both alive and dead at the same time. But when the box is open, that is, the measurement is made, the particle is in one of the possible states - and it does not change anymore. Our cat is either alive or dead.

If at this point you completely ceased to understand anything - do not worry, no one understands this. The nature of quantum mechanics has not been explained by the most brilliant physicists in the world for many decades.

The phenomenon of quantum entanglement is used for teleportation. This is when two elementary particles have the same origin and are in an interdependent state - in other words, there is some inexplicable connection between them. Due to this, entangled particles can "communicate" with each other, even being at a huge distance from each other. And once you know the state of one particle, you can predict the state of another with absolute certainty.

Imagine you have two dice that always add up to seven. You shook them in a glass and threw one bone behind your back and the other in front of you and covered it with your palm. Raising your hand, you saw that you have thrown, say, a six - and now you can confidently assert that the second bone, behind your back, fell out one up. After all, the sum of two numbers must be equal to seven.

Sounds incredible, right? With the dice we are used to, such a number will not work, but entangled particles behave exactly this way - and only this way, although the nature of this phenomenon also defies explanation.

“This is the most incredible phenomenon of quantum mechanics, it’s impossible to even comprehend,” says MIT professor Walter Levin, one of the most respected physicists in the world. belts! All we can say is that apparently this is how our world works."

However, this does not mean at all that this mysterious phenomenon cannot be used in practice - after all, it is repeatedly confirmed by both formulas and experiments.

Practical teleportation

Practical experiments on teleportation began about 10 years ago in the Canary Islands under the guidance of an Austrian physicist, professor at the University of Vienna Anton Zeilinger.

In a laboratory on the island of Palma, scientists create a pair of entangled photons (A and B), and then one of them is sent using a laser beam to another laboratory located on the neighboring island of Tenerife, 144 km away.Moreover, both particles are in a state of superposition - that is, we have not yet "opened the cat's box".

Then the third photon (C) is connected to the case - the one that needs to be teleported - and they make it interact with one of the entangled particles. Then physicists measure the parameters of this interaction (A + C) and transmit the resulting value to a laboratory in Tenerife, where the second entangled photon (B) is located.

The inexplicable connection between A and B will make it possible to turn B into an exact copy of particle C (A + C-B) - as if it instantly moved from one island to another without crossing the ocean. That is, she teleported.

“We sort of extract the information that the original carries - and create a new original elsewhere,” explains Zeilinger, who has already teleported thousands and thousands of elementary particles in this way.

Does this mean that in the future, scientists will be able to teleport any objects and even people in this way - after all, we are also composed of such particles?

In theory, this is very possible. You just need to create a sufficient number of entangled pairs and carry them to different places, placing them in "teleportation booths" - say, in London and Moscow. You enter the third booth, which works like a scanner: the computer analyzes the quantum state of your particles, comparing them with entangled ones, and sends this information to another city. And there the opposite process takes place - and your exact copy is recreated from the entangled particles.

Fundamental issues resolved

In practice, things are a little more complicated. The fact is that there are about 7 octillion atoms in our body (after seven there are 27 zeros, that is, it is seven billion billion billion) - this is more than stars in the observable part of the Universe.

And after all, it is necessary to analyze and describe not only each individual particle, but also all the connections between them - after all, in a new place they must be collected in an ideally correct order.

It is almost impossible to collect and transmit such a quantity of information - at least, at the current level of technology development. It is not known when computers capable of processing such volumes of data will appear. Now, in any case, work is underway to increase the distance between laboratories, and not the number of teleportable particles.

That is why many scientists believe that the dream of human teleportation is hardly realizable. Although, for example, a professor at New York City College and a well-known popularizer of science Michio Kaku is convinced that teleportation will become a reality by the end of the 21st century - and maybe even 50 years from now. Without naming specific dates, some other experts generally agree with him.

“This is a matter of improving technology, improving quality. But I would say that fundamental issues have been resolved - and there is no limit to perfection further,” says Eugene Polzik, a professor at the Niels Bohr Institute at Copenhagen University.

However, a lot of other questions arise along the way. For example, will the "copy of me" obtained as a result of such teleportation be the real me? Will she think the same way, have the same memories? After all, as mentioned earlier, the original of the sent item is destroyed as a result of quantum analysis.

“For quantum teleportation, the destruction of the teleportable object in the process is absolutely necessary and inevitable,” confirms Edward Farhi, who headed the Center for Theoretical Physics at MIT from 2004 to 2016 and now works at Google. “I think you would just turn into a bunch of neutrons, protons and electrons. You wouldn't look your best."

On the other hand, from a purely materialistic point of view, we are not determined by the particles of which we are made, but by their state - and this information, scientists say, is transmitted extremely accurately.

I would like to believe that this is so. And that the dream of humanity about teleportation will not turn into reality in the famous horror film, where the main character did not notice how a fly accidentally flew into his teleportation cabin …

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