As you can imagine, here at Engadget, we love it when science fiction becomes more science and less fiction. With that in mind, we're pleased to pass along the news that Danish scientists at Copenhagen University have made a breakthrough in the wacky world of quantum teleportation by transporting quantum information over a distance of half a meter (1.6 feet). In order to achieve this, Dr. Eugene Polzik and his team shined a strong laser beam into a cloud of room-temperature cesium atoms that shared the same directional spin. As Scientific American reports: "The laser became entangled with the collective spin of the cloud, meaning that the quantum states of laser and gas shared the same amplitude but had opposite phases. The goal was to transfer, or teleport, the quantum state of a second light beam onto the cloud." (It should be noted that this process is more akin to duplication than actual teleportation, i.e. using this method on a human being would result in the formation of a doppelganger and not a magical Star Trek-like movement of matter). To achieve this goal, Polzik and other scientists added a second weaker laser pulse and split the two beams into separate branches in order to measure the difference between the quantum phases; through that measurement the scientists were then able to transfer the information of the spin state of the weak laser to the combination of the cesium atoms and the strong laser, without disturbing the quantum entanglement between the laser and the cesium. Umm, so the short of it is: one small step for a cesium atom, but one giant leap for quantum computing research and the advancement of teleportation theory.

[Thanks, Josh H. and Eric M.]

Read - Reuters
Read - Scientific American