Not long ago, in the early 1990s, scientists only speculated that teleportation using quantum physics could be possible.
Since then, the process has become a standard operation in quantum optics labs around the world. In fact, just last year, two teams conducted the world’s first quantum teleportation outside a laboratory.
Now, researchers in China have taken the process a few steps further: They successfully teleported a photon from Earth to a satellite orbiting more than 311 miles away.
The satellite, called Micius, is a highly sensitive photo receiver capable of detecting the quantum states of single photons fired from the ground. Micius was launched to allow scientists to test various technological building blocks for quantum feats including entanglement, cryptography, and teleportation.
This teleportation feat was announced as one of the first results of these experiments. The group not only teleported the first object from the ground to orbit but also created the first satellite-to-ground quantum network, smashing the record for the longest distance for which entanglement has been measured.
“Long-distance teleportation has been recognized as a fundamental element in protocols such as large-scale quantum networks and distributed quantum computation,” the Chinese team told MIT Technology Review. “Previous teleportation experiments between distant locations were limited to a distance on the order of 100 kilometers, due to photon loss in optical fibers or terrestrial free-space channels.” (Click to Site)