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Energy Teleportation: Coming Soon?

Last year, scientists successfully teleported information between two atoms one meter apart, which was seen as a promising development for quantum computing.

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Now, a Japanese physicist named Masahiro Hotta has devised a method that could allow us to teleport energy itself using the same set of principles.

From the MIT Technology Review:

[T]here are always quantum fluctuations in the energy of any particle. The teleportation process allows you to inject quantum energy at one point in the universe and then exploit quantum energy fluctuations to extract it from another point. Of course, the energy of the system as whole is 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 travelling across the intervening space. That’s teleportation.

Don’t get too hyped up yet: in Hotta’s paper, entitled “Energy-Entanglement Relation for Quantum Energy Teleportation” (SFW, don’t worry), you’ll see root signs and summation notation, not diagrams for quantum railguns. Energy teleportation is still in the ‘theory’ phase, but a) it sounds cool, and b) if Hotta is right, his work could have exciting applications down the road.

(via Technology Review. h/t Josh Sternberg’s Twitter)

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