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Could quantum teleportation be used to teleport humans?

  1. Mar 28, 2010 #1
    Scientists have recently been able to use quantum teleportation to transmit the quantum state of one atom to another atom as far as 90 miles away. From a quantum mechanical standpoint, this is the same as sending the atom itself, since two atoms with the same quantum state are indistinguishable.

    Could such a technique be used to transport a human being? I realize that there are concerns over decoherence, complexity, and scan time, but can't those be overcome with sufficiently advanced technology?

    It would appear that steps are being taken toward it. For example, just recently, UCSB physicists observed quantum mechanical behavior in a trillion-atom mechanical resonator. It shows that even macroscopic objects can be in a quantum state, right?
  2. jcsd
  3. Mar 28, 2010 #2
    Hi, I'm no scientist, & just joined this forum today.

    One day, humans MAY be able to be transported - But i doubt it. they could transport the atoms of the physical body, however will the 'soul' be transported aswell ? & what about DNA - you'l need a pretty big computer to hold all that information in detail, enough to reproduce it in detail at the other end.

    Assuming it is possible - Has anyone worked out the speed / computing power needed ? and is is the same for a child, as a very big adult ??

    My initial thoughts, are that we should be experimenting with creating water.. - we could easily change the quantum state of atoms to create water.. ('beam' it to Africa / middle of Australia etc & other places that need water..)

    QUERY :-

    If we have a 100 x 100 x 100 cm cube of "air" and we change it to water - The atoms will change into water.

    What happens to the other atoms (un-used / left overs from the air) - do they vanish or turn into some other state (that we don't want)
  4. Mar 28, 2010 #3
    Of course!

    But probably not for another few thousand years. The technical problems are huge.
  5. Mar 30, 2010 #4
    Ugh, let's not bring dualism into this, even though it might be tempting.

    It's still quite an interesting question for philosophers, as teleportation opens up a range of questions. The most obvious one is: Is your mind dependent on being a succession of states in the same matter, or are we basically the same person coming out the other end. In any case, there will still be one version of you in existence, arguably the same version. Even so, another mind might have ceased to exist. Arguably the same mind as the one still in existence.

    In any case, when we're at the point that we can alter mass at an atomic level, if we're still having issues with poverty in Africa, remind me to fry my memory bank and jump off a cliff.
  6. Mar 30, 2010 #5
    Yes, Teleportation, should focus on moving food/water / minerals (deliver iron/steel to space station ?)

    Although, Once we can 'move / teleport' items, we could in theory "create" items without removing it from somewhere else (Or use un-wanted items & transform them to the materials we need).
    Last edited: Mar 30, 2010
  7. Mar 30, 2010 #6
    I remember reading a while back a guy named J. Storrs Hall calculated the time needed to transfer the information contained in a human's atomic structure.

    It basically boiled down to this: Even if you assume a very thick cable (forget wireless) operating at near damn close to physical limits for information transfer (we're talking about way in the future), it would take on the order of a quarter century to teleport a human.

    Google isn't helping me find the article; maybe you guys will have more luck.
  8. Mar 30, 2010 #7
    The honest and completely not-fun answer is: Who the hell knows?!

    I for one, wouldn't want to be teleported through quantum means as they are currently understood. I would guess that teleporting anything that requires a nervous system to live, is a bad idea, and probably will never be possible, never mind sensible.

    What if, for instance, quantum microtubules in our brains are critical to some element of cognition or consciousness? Could their state be replicated perfectly, and if not, then what does that mean for your thoughts? What is the room for error in which you "forget" something, or are disoriented, vs. ending up as a rapidly expanding plasma?

    If you have a soul, which I doubt, then you're probably ****ed. If you don't, the the issue of dualism raises its ugly head, Tempus' preference aside. Until we have a working definition of EXACTLY how our brain's work, and how that gives rise to "us" (a person, sentience) you can bet that only a psychopath or the desperate would even ATTEMPT such a feat.
  9. Mar 31, 2010 #8
    Just watch The Fly(1986) .
  10. Mar 31, 2010 #9
    :rofl: That's a bit like watching Airlplane! before boarding your flight, or The Towering Inferno before hopping on the elevator. You're a sick sick puppy... I love it. :smile:

    "In the event of a loss of informatinal purity, you may reach your destination with slightly altered DNA! If that occurs, remember that you now digest food by reguritating on it, then slurping the mush. Thank you for using 'Quantum Hell' teleporters! Your ONLY chocie when it comes to cut-rate Quantum Teleportation."

    "Note: We have had recent customer complaints that our Teleporter food delivery service has had some minor issue. We urge our customers to read the risks of mice or cockroaches being combined at the quantum level with your hamburger! Really, this is similar to getting a hot-dog on the street in NYC, so stop complaining you nancy boys!"

    That's my pitch... go on... I know you want to venture some capital to make my vision a reality! :wink:
  11. May 22, 2010 #10

    It might be able to transport or it end up duplicating the original while the original is destroyed or rearranged.
  12. May 22, 2010 #11
    I thought, from recent Google news articles, they had managed 10 miles - not 90 miles.

    Where did the 90 mile one come from ? is it a more recent test ?

    Also, Does anyone know how much power / energy it takes to transport atoms ? & does this energy need to be exponentially increased, with more atoms transferred / teleported at the same time ?
  13. May 23, 2010 #12
    Quantum states can not be "copied". The measurement of the state destroys it, so the "original" thing would cease to exist. Teleportation can only move states away, not duplicate them.

    If something is physically possible, the humanity shall eventually reach it, so I believe we will be able to teleport ourselves some day.
  14. May 24, 2010 #13
    The main issue is that quantum teleportation really teleports information, not matter.

    Because of the no-cloning theorem, the quantum information of, say, an atom in a superposition state, cannot be copied to another atom. However, with quantum teleportation the state is transferred to the other atomit is erased from the first atom. The point though is that you still need the atom at the new place already to be there, as the scheme is only "teleporting" the information between the two. Quantum teleportation (sadly) does not offer a way to move matter to a distant location.
  15. May 24, 2010 #14
    hi, please forgive my ignorance:

    How does the concept of bell states fit into space-time?

    if bell states are not constrained by relativity, are bell states affected or do they operate within space-time?

    how do bell-states fit into the fundamental forces, nuclear, electromagnetism, gravity?

    how is non-relativistic quantum mechanics possible in light of special relativity?

    how is non-relativistic QM even possible and what does this mean vis-a-vis relativity itself?

    thank you in advance.
    Last edited: May 24, 2010
  16. May 24, 2010 #15
    why does observation/measurement collapse all paths into one? why does it destroy the quantum state? why does the cat have to die?

    i'm asking why? why should this be the operative mechanism? what does it allow? wriggle room within deterministic rules as in chaos?

    what is the purpose of the uncertainty principle in the whole scheme of things? why the uncertainty? what is its ostensible purpose?

    why entanglement? what purpose does that serve?
    Last edited: May 24, 2010
  17. May 24, 2010 #16
    But aren't human bodies just giant collections of atoms, which are themselves quantum mechanical objects?
  18. May 24, 2010 #17
    The biggest difference between 1 atom and human is that human is 3D. In order to transport somehow the state of human using some kind of scanning technology, that technology must have 2 incosistent properties: you must be able to detect the state of any molecule deep inside the body, but at the same time these rays should not damage or even affect all the material around it on its way. I am sure it is possible to prove rigorously that it is impossible for objects with size>X (I expect X to be few atoms in diameter).
  19. May 24, 2010 #18


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    When they talk about the state of an atom, they're actually talking about the state of its electrons.

    This is an important distinction, because electrons act quantum-mechanically to a far greater extent than nuclei do (due to having 2000x the mass). So 'teleporting' even a single atom or diatomic molecule would be very very difficult. Bose-Einstein condensate level of difficulty (and fragility).

    I just can't see how it could be done.
  20. May 24, 2010 #19
    Teleportation does not require the original object stay intact. Indeed, it requires that the object gets destroyed. Man, you're gonna hit every damn electron of the body with a photon. There's no way something can survive that.

    Teleportation of quantum states implies destroying of the original state. You can only move states, not copy them.

    However, it's theoretically possible, so humanity will be doing it some day.
  21. May 24, 2010 #20
    But aren't human bodies just giant collections of atoms, which are themselves quantum mechanical objects?
    Yes. I believe they will find,it how in decades (couple, some).
    Isn't it curious to know is there a ''soul'' existing? Teleporting can approve it. (The end of made up stories;)
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