back to article Quantum teleportation gets reliable at Delft

A research group at Delft University of Technology has set the lesser-brained among the world's science writers in an absolute tizz by demonstrating what it describes as reliable quantum teleportation. Of course, mention quantum phenomena like entanglement (and therefore teleportation) and the only angle anyone can think of is …


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  1. Trevor_Pott Gold badge

    Now listen here sonny...

    ...on this planet we obey the laws of physics!

    1. ecofeco Silver badge

      Re: Now listen here sonny...

      That's so LAST century, grandpa!

    2. Salts

      Re: Now listen here sonny...

      We sure do and that would be the laws of physics as we know them today, tomorrow is a different story, I doubt very much Einstein is wrong, but that does not mean he had all the facts.

      "A scientific truth does not triumph by convincing its opponents and making them see the light, but rather because its opponents eventually die and a new generation grows up that is familiar with it."

      Max Planck

      1. Trevor_Pott Gold badge


        You sir, have no joy in your soul.

        1. Gannon (J.) Dick

          Re: @Salts

          Normally I'd just agree and move on, but I see a real opportunity here ...

          If they would enclose the electrons in "... a rich, sweet pastry made of layers of filo pastry filled with chopped nuts and sweetened and held together with syrup or honey.", it would not feed the hungry but would be a quantum leap forward in snacks.

          More details here:

      2. frank ly Silver badge

        Re: Now listen here sonny...

        As I understand it, Einstein was one of the original group of physicists whose work predicted quantum teleportation and he didn't feel comfortable with the prediction. He wasn't 'wrong'.

        1. dan1980

          Re: Now listen here sonny...

          @frank ly

          "He wasn't 'wrong'."

          I don't think he was wrong to feel uncomfortable about it either!

          1. Sir Runcible Spoon Silver badge

            Free the Qubit Two!

            Entanglement is tantamount to slavery, it should be abolished before the practice becomes accepted dogma.

            What kind of facilities for the active electron have been provided for in these so call 'diamond' class prisons? Is there even enough room to spin more than an angstrom? Who is in charge of seeing that these prisoners of state are given their universal rights?

        2. Ian Yates

          Re: Now listen here sonny...

          Also, people who think that a scientist (even one as important as Einstein) can't be "wrong" and have theories disproved don't understand the scientific process.

          Einstein wouldn't be upset by this, he'd be curious.

      3. Vic

        Re: Now listen here sonny...

        > the laws of physics as we know them today,

        It was a Simpsons joke...


  2. chuckufarley


  3. ecofeco Silver badge

    An amazing century ahead

    If we survive WW3, (and the other 3 horsemen) it's going to be an amazing century!

    1. Trevor_Pott Gold badge


      There are five horsemen.

      War, Pestilence, Famine, Death and Apathy. There may have originally been four horsemen, but Apathy has totally earned his stripes.

      1. frank ly Silver badge

        Re: *Ahem*

        You forget about Ronnie Soak (Kaos). Everybody forgets about Ronnie.

      2. hplasm Silver badge

        Re: *Ahem*

        Even so, you would think we could prevail against a 5HP opponent?

        1. Sir Runcible Spoon Silver badge

          Re: *Ahem*

          I thought the horseman of apathy was excluded from all future events after he didn't bother to turn up for the last one?

          1. GreggS

            Re: *Ahem*

            I was going to come up with some witty response, but really can't be arsed.

      3. Stoneshop Silver badge

        Re: *Ahem*

        War, Pestilence, Famine, Death and Apathy.

        Ahem yourself. Pestilence has retired after the discovery of penicillin, his place now being taken by Pollution.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: *Ahem*

          And, of course, don't forget about the other four horsemen - Grievous Bodily Harm, Cruelty to Animals, Things Not Working Properly Even After You've Given Them A Good Thumping But Secretly No Alcohol Lager, and Really Cool People...

        2. Trevor_Pott Gold badge

          Re: *Ahem*

          Malaria. MSRA. HIV. Hepatitis. Pandemic-class flus.

          Lots of diseases can't be stopped by antibiotics. And antibiotics can stop none of them forever.

          1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

            Re: *Ahem*

            Pestilence has retired after the discovery of penicillin

            Not even wrong.

            Never, ever attempt "who wants to be a zillionaire".

            1. Vic

              Re: *Ahem*

              >> Pestilence has retired after the discovery of penicillin

              > Not even wrong.

              And that was a Pratchett joke..


      4. Mark 85 Silver badge

        Re: *Ahem*

        Apathy? Who gives a husky rat's ass about apathy????

        1. Sir Runcible Spoon Silver badge

          Re: *Ahem*

          Watch out! There's a new kid in town these days..

          The horseman of Righteous Indignation and his horse, False Sense of Entitlement.

          The others just call him the Whiny Bitch.

          1. oolor

            Re: new kid in town

            Ya, but Pestilence gave him the same directions as Apathy, and neither has regrouped after Righteous Indignation was bucked from his steed.

            He's kind of a prick to the skiddies, but a riot to rape and pillage with. OLD SCHOOL!

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Is this teleportation per se ?

    Being of the Star Trek generation, teleportation - to me - has always suggested 'disassembling' matter in one place and, after transporing it to another location by e.g. an energy beam, 'reassembling' it in it's proper form. This suggests some sort of 'freedom' in the location where the reassembling takes place, even if this requires two 'assembly-disassembly' units. One of the main problems doing this was postulated by a certain Mr. Heisenberg.

    What this guys are doing may be teleportation in the literal sense, but it does have a drawback. Since the system relies on entangled pairs, you would first have to 'construct' an entangled pair, and then transport one to whatever location you wish to transport stuff to, whereupon you could proceed to 'teleport' to that location, and none other. Teleporting somewhere else would require you to either transport one 'unit' to a new location or construct another 'pair'. Since only the two entangled bits (I use the term loosely) can communicate with each other communication is very secure, however not very flexible.

    I could see an application in instantaneous secure communications, but I don't think beaming an underwear change to the lads on moonbase Alpha is on the cards just yet.

    1. Scroticus Canis

      Re: Question.

      Short answer - NO. It's just an entangled electron as you have said. Even if they do get to a stage where they can entangle matter (not just photons) and move one 'copy' to another place how the hell do you encode the entangled stuff at point A with the matter (an apple say) that you want to move to point B? Even if it worked then the entangled matter at point B would be an apple and so just a one way shot, really useful.

      Even with entangled photons one of the pair has to be sent down a fibre optic cable so it's not teleportation either.

    2. Def Silver badge

      Re: Question.

      I would assume this is the first step towards real teleportation. Teleportation of data happens almost instantaneously through measuring entangled particles. I think I'm right in stating that today we still don't know exactly how entanglement works, but presumably some smart-arse will eventually figure out it involves n-dimensional hyperspace or something to do with cats (or both). Once that happens, presumably it will become easier (for a given value of 'easier') to exploit the underlying physical phenomena to transport more than just information.

      At least I certainly hope so. I also hope it happens within the next fifty years so I have a chance to witness it. :)

      1. NumptyScrub

        Re: Question.

        quote: "I would assume this is the first step towards real teleportation. Teleportation of data happens almost instantaneously through measuring entangled particles."

        It might help to think of it not as teleportation of data, but as "action at a distance"; as you measure (and thus set) the spin of one electron, the other immediately takes on the complementary spin. Nothing has teleported, all that happens is the probability function of the electron spin breaks down into a single value determined by the value measured at the other entagled electron.

        These guys have apparently managed to get a qubit that has a deterministic, rather than random, sequence of values, and if that is actually the case then we could theoretically get "subspace" communications of a sort going between these discrete entangled qubits. It is not going to enable matter teleportation though, no matter how much I'd like that to be the case. :(

        1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

          Re: Question.

          I would assume this is the first step towards real teleportation. Teleportation of data happens almost instantaneously through measuring entangled particles.

          Totally wrong. First you "teleport" (the correct way is "move") quantum state which you don't know what it is. Nothing happens "instantaneously" (because in what frame?) And if you "measure" it, you do not even to get out if bed, you already lost.

          The closest thing to "real teleportation" is putting the thing on a truck and driving it there. Ain't no way around that.

          as you measure (and thus set) the spin of one electron, the other immediately takes on the complementary spin

          In the same way as finding out that you have the queen of spades in your hand causes your opponent to have the queen of hearts?

      2. Martin Budden

        Re: Question. @ Def

        It may be something to do with cats, though I'm not certain.

    3. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: Question.

      "Is this teleportation per se ?"

      No. Think of it as being able remote control a future version of Curiosty on Mars in real time if they mange to ramp up the stability and duration of the entanglement.

    4. Schultz

      Re: Question.

      No information was transmitted in the teleportation experiment. If it were, it would violate the space-time continuum and our universe would collapse into a deterministic quantum soup, or so.

      You don't have to worry about competition to your Star Trek teleporter because the fastest quantum information transmission occurs with the speed of light and you therefore might just hurl the physical object with /almost/ c instead.

      Interesting, how the scientific articles never claim information teleportation, but the press releases always throw it in for some good PR. Science versus media.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Quantum Computing researchers are the new Silicon Snake Oil salesmen.

    Apply the weirdness of Quantum Mechanics with some suitable hand-waving in the expectation that some large company will come and deposit large sums of dosh in the hope of patenting a system that guarantees No More Secrets ®.

    1. Grikath Silver badge

      Re: Qubits

      Oh, secure encryption may be part of why large sums of dosh are tossed towards it. Unlike the Higgs, this stuff may well have practical applications.

      The real clincher is, however, that there's obviously something about the Universe we live in we still don't understand yet, and quantum entaglement is one of the ways to probe physically into parts of our reality we otherwise cannot touch.

      It's one of the "Hey, that's odd..." things in real hardcore science, and that alone is worth tossing some $ into.

      1. noominy.noom

        Re: Qubits

        Re: Qubits


        Nailed it. Better than I could/would have. Thanks.

  6. amanfromearth

    How fast?

    I admit to being not up to date on quantum research, but have they yet measured how fast the entangled electron changes state?

    And if they have, is it < c ?

    1. Badvok

      Re: How fast?

      Yes, they have determined the minimum speed, but I can't be arsed to provide a link when a certain company starting with 'G' does that so much better.

  7. amanfromearth

    Oooh, > 10000c

  8. Joefish

    Einstein is fine - nothing to see here.

    The big farce of 'quantum teleportation' is the system is closed; even if you're taken in by the 'quantum' explanation, the only information that's transferred is an unknown, until you measure it at one end, then the other. In other words, you can't input information at one end and have it emerge at the other. Teleporting unknown information has yet to find a practical use, other than generating misleading press scientific releases over and over and over again. But 'scientists find more reliable method for doing the same old sh*t you read about last month' doesn't make the press.

    The non-quantum explanation of entanglement is exceptionally mundane. You tip one shoe out of a box into a black bag, but don't look which one, then send the box to Australia. Now you look at yours at the same time as your antipodean friend opens the box, and you miraculously and instantaneously find that he's got the left shoe and you've got the right one. Big whoop. Make a press release that you can teleport the handedness of shoes; the press will then report you can teleport whole shoes.

    1. b0hem1us

      Re: Einstein is fine - nothing to see here.

      Well said, finally someone knows what they are talking about.

    2. Whiskers

      Re: Einstein is fine - nothing to see here.

      But shoes are themselves teleportation devices. Just a bit slow, and usually most effective when not entagled or too far apart.

    3. MichaelGordon

      Re: Einstein is fine - nothing to see here.

      Your "shoe" example is a hidden variable theory. Unfortunately it's been proven that no local hidden variable theory can reproduce all the observed features of quantum mechanics. To make hidden variable theories work you need to accept either FTL communication between the particles or communication which travels back in time along the past light cone of the particle.

      1. Joefish

        Re: Einstein is fine - nothing to see here.

        No, but it can reproduce all the ones this article is banging on about.

        And until someone can either (a) find a use for the 'hidden variable' example or (b) find a way to influence the 'unknown' part of the quantum entanglement example, then there's no practical difference between the two.

        1. NumptyScrub

          Re: Einstein is fine - nothing to see here.

          quote: "No, but it can reproduce all the ones this article is banging on about."

          I had a quick browse of the Arxiv paper, and they claim that the qubit state for their setup is deterministic. As in you aren't dealing with complementary random values of shoe, but complementary deterministic ones instead.

          Then I saw loads of difficult looking maths and got scared off ^^;

          1. Joefish

            Re: Einstein is fine - nothing to see here.

            Seems to me that they only describe their measurement of state as 'deterministic'. They describe the actual state (in the abstract) as 'arbitrary'.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Einstein is fine - nothing to see here.

        "To make hidden variable theories work you need to accept either FTL communication between the particles or communication which travels back in time...".

        Surely that's what you need to accept the notion of 'quantum teleportation'? To make that 'hidden variable' example work, all you need to accept is that shoes come in pairs!

  9. Mage Silver badge

    Star Trek Transporter

    I have no wish to die and then have a facsimile reassembled from transmitted data.

    Assuming that

    A) It's possible to "scan" someone entirely

    B) Possible to store/transmit that amount of data

    C) Possible to turn the Energy / Data back into original constituents.

    This concept of "transportation" is nothing to do with Star Trek's concept, which may be inherently impossible. Which may have been "invented" due to lack of budget for Shuttle, or lazy scriptwriting. Just because something seems cool on TV doesn't mean it's ever possible. I'd sooner believe a "Star ship" is possible.

    It's not clear how you actually use entanglement / Quantum Transportation to do any useful information transmission, in the "Ansible" sense.

    1. Richard 12 Silver badge

      Re: Star Trek Transporter

      It was "invented" as a plot device to avoid spending many minutes every episode tediously getting onto, off and flying a shuttle craft every time they wanted to get the characters on or off the spaceship.

      It's a time saving device.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Star Trek Transporter

        Sod teleportation, sod FTL, a working null-G material/solution should be our highest priority.

        If it takes x amount of effort to lift something into orbit, and x=expensive, then we need to reduce x somehow.

      2. Nick Ryan Silver badge

        Re: Star Trek Transporter

        It was created as a cost saving device, not a time saving device.

        The cost of the effects of the ships, shuttle, and so on landing at each new location would have been prohibitive. However a static(*) scene overlaid reveal process (i.e. the teleport animation) was very cheap regardless of the setting.

        * You'll notice that with very few exceptions that the scene the characters are leaving or arriving by teleport was always static, clever cuts and edits disguised this very well. Much more recent examples changed this of course.

    2. Blofeld's Cat

      Re: Star Trek Transporter

      "I have no wish to die and then have a facsimile reassembled from transmitted data"

      There is an alternative sequence of events...

  10. James Boag

    Your missing the point.

    With a star trek type transporter, you could be rebuild (destination end) With a body alcohol rating of your choice and even with a half chewed mouthful of bacon roll in your mouth, and a reference liver / kidney / lungs / heart. Think bigger my friends !

    1. Steve Knox

      Re: Your missing the point.

      Could you step off the teleport pad please, sir?

      Do you realize how fast you were beaming back there?

      Would you mind blowing into this, please?...

  11. Aitor 1 Silver badge

    Not new

    We already new that entangled meant they shared one spin change. Just one.

    It not only happens instantly, but distance douesn't matter.

  12. Jonski

    So pretty

    Let's see them pack that inside 2U and FCoE...

    Mine's the one with the Sub-Etha Sens-O-Matic and the Electronic Thumb in the pocket...

  13. halftone

    I hope they don't have any flies in that Delft lab.

  14. AbeSapian

    Been There, Done That, Got the T-Shirt

    An Austrian group in Tenerife has been doing this for some time now.

    Damn, now a place I wouldn't mind going to the office.

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re. teleporter

    Yup, this just made my day.

    Seems that building a pattern buffer using this tech assuming that there is no significant crosstalk between qubits is feasible, and in fact would probably look a lot like the fluorescent panels on "ST:TOS".

    I think the buffer would probably need a lot of shielding though as the tendency to decohere would be a problem in something this critical.

    I did look into using a variant of this using optical persistence memory (a quantum phenomena) but the data density and write speed for non exotic materials is just too low.

    In case anyone happens to try this the material is BDR laser written ZnS:Cu single crystals but using an infrared laser to scan the buffer and then erase data once read.

    Had half decent speeds out of the system but totally useless by modern standards, maybe 1-2MBps but in 1960 it would have been deep magick indeed.

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