The “qubits” in quantum computers can exist at the same time, where Unlike regular computers where data is stored in binary bits as 0 or 1. Stranger still, this data will be effectively teleported over any distance. Now, scientists from Austria and China have managed to create photons that exist as 0,1 and two simultaneously and teleported these complex quantum states.
Quantum computers are poised to leave conventional computers and even supercomputers in the dust, and they owe their exponential increase in power to the fact that they go beyond binary. One “bit” of information isn’t restricted to a 0 or a 1 – it can be either or each on the same time, much like Schrödinger’s infamous cat.
In principle, adding other states boosts the power even more: throw in a 2, for example, and the variety of possible states goes up exponentially. One qubit might be any individual value, or any pairing of two, or all three at once.
And now these theoretical higher-dimension quantum states haven’t only been demonstrated in lab experiments, however, teleported as effectively. The staff contains scientists from the Austrian Academy of Sciences, the University of Vienna, and the University of Science and Technology of China.
The team-based its experiments on a long-standing favorite called the Bell test. On this, two photons are emitted in different directions at the same time, and when a sure property of one is manipulated and measured, the other often ends up being the same. That information appears to be “teleported” to the second photon, no matter how far apart they are.
For the new study, the researchers adapted the classic experiment to teleport a three-level state, which they name a “qutrit.” The quantum state on this case is which of three optical fibers a photon is touring via – remembering in fact, that quantum physics allows a single photon to be in any or all three of the fibers at once.
The team used a multiport beam splitter to direct the photons, and then manipulated their states using auxiliary photons. By carefully controlling the interference patterns of those photons, the team was able to successfully teleport that quantum information to another photon, even though the two photons never interacted physically.
This examine is a step towards harnessing quantum mechanics for better electronics. In the not-too-distant future, a quantum internet might join quantum computers together to send data incredibly fast through quantum teleportation.