A physicist has demonstrated that teleportation of energy is possible, a discovery that has profound implications for the study of physics.
Masahiro Hotta at Tohoku University in Japan showed that teleportation of energy is possible by using the quantum principles to transport information.
Relying on the quantum phenomenon called "entanglement" -- in which two particles share the same existence, meaning that a measurement on one particle immediately influences the other despite being light-years apart -- Hotta's idea involves making a measurement on each one an entangled pair of particles.
According to Hotta, the measurement on the first particle injects quantum energy into the system. By carefully choosing the measurement to do on the second particle, it is possible to extract the original energy, Hotta says.
This is possible because there are always quantum fluctuations in the energy of any particle. Teleportation allows you to inject quantum energy at one point in the universe and then exploit quantum energy fluctuations to extract it from another point, leaving the energy of the system as whole unchanged.
He gives the example of a string of entangled ions oscillating back and forth in an electric field trap, a bit like Newton's balls. Measuring the state of the first ion injects energy into the system in the form of a phonon, a quantum of oscillation. Hotta says that performing the right kind of measurement on the last ion extracts this energy. Since this can be done at the speed of light (in principle), the phonon doesn't travel across the intermediate ions so there is no heating of these ions. The energy has been transmitted without traveling across the intervening space. That's teleportation.
IBM's Charlie Bennett first showed the world information teleportation in 1993 at the Watson Research Center in New York. Since quantum particles are indistinguishable except for the information they carry, there is no need to transmit them themselves -- and since Bennett's discovery, physicists have been able to teleport photons, atoms, and ions.
The next step: the teleportation of molecules or viruses.
Hotta says the concept allows physicists for the first time to explore the relationship between quantum information and quantum energy.