Beam me up Scotty

By Matthew Rainwater

DeKALB | From comic books, movies and television to video and computer games, we have grown sort of used to seeing teleportation. This has only been a fantasy, but it might become a reality sooner than we thought.

Experimenting with teleportaion

Teleportation moved out of the realm of science fiction and into the world of theoretical possibility in the early 1990s. American physicist Charles Bennett and a team of researchers at IBM confirmed that quantum teleportation was possible.

Recently, physicists in Denmark have been able to teleport information from light and matter, bringing quantum communication and computing closer to reality. Professor Eugene Polzik and his team at the Niels Bohr Institute at Copenhagen University were able to make a breakthrough using both light and matter. The experiment involved, for the first time, a macroscopic atomic object containing thousands of billions of atoms.

So… what happened?

“This wasn’t so much as a breakthrough, but a significant extension of previous experiments that teleported quantum states with simpler systems,” Gerald Blazey, NIU professor of physics, said. “My guess is that the techniques will be applied to even more interesting and complicated systems.”

Two years ago, two teams of scientists conducted teleportation between two single atoms, but this was done at a distance of a fraction of a millimeter. This is just one step further because for the first time it involved teleportation between light and matter, two very different objects. One is the carrier of information and the other is the storage medium, according to

The idea of teleportation became popular during the first Star Trek series in the late 1960s. After that, popular culture has made it widespread. It’s been used in the X-Men series and most recently on NBC’s new drama Heroes.

Boldy going…?

It will be some time before scientists figure out how to teleport complicated quantum states like mice or people, Blazey said, because there is the interesting problem of having the original and the copy.

“What on earth would you do with two of yourself?” Blazey said.

For a person to be transported, a machine would have to be built that can pinpoint and analyze the trillion atoms that make up the human body. Molecules couldn’t be a millimeter out of place, otherwise a person might have a severe neurological or physiological defect upon teleportation; the laws of physics make it extremely difficult to create a transporter that enables a person to be sent instantaneously to another location. This type of travel requires traveling at the speed of light.

Until then, we can only live long and prosper.

Source: and provided information about these events

Matthew Rainwater is the Science and Technology beat reporter for the Northern Star.