Quantum Teleportation; April 2000; Scientific American Magazine; by Zeilinger; 10 Page(s)
The scene is a familiar one from science-fiction movies and TV: an intrepid band of explorers enters a special chamber; lights pulse, sound effects warble, and our heroes shimmer out of existence to reappear on the surface of a faraway planet. This is the dream of teleportation-the ability to travel from place to place without having to pass through the tedious intervening miles accompanied by a physical vehicle and airline-food rations. Although the teleportation of large objects or humans still remains a fantasy, quantum teleportation has become a laboratory reality for photons, the individual particles of light.
Quantum teleportation exploits some of the most basic (and peculiar) features of quantum mechanics, a branch of physics invented in the first quarter of the 20th century to explain processes that occur at the level of individual atoms. From the beginning, theorists realized that quantum physics led to a plethora of new phenomena, some of which defy common sense. Technological progress in the final quarter of the 20th century has enabled researchers to conduct many experiments that not only demonstrate fundamental, sometimes bizarre aspects of quantum mechanics but, as in the case of quantum teleportation, apply them to achieve previously inconceivable feats.