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Is Teleportation Mathematically or Theroretically Possible

  1. Jan 4, 2009 #1
    I read an article on the internet about an experiment that took place pertaining to teleportation. I just wanted to know if anybody knows if this is science fiction or is it Mathematically possible.
  2. jcsd
  3. Jan 4, 2009 #2


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    Welcome to PhysicsForums!

    The *short* answers are as follows:

    A. Teleportation of matter: No.

    B. Teleportation of information faster than the speed of light c: No.

    C. Teleportation of quantum state, faster than the speed of light c: Yes. This is often mentioned in popular accounts; but it is very technical and not at all like the teleportation you see in Star Trek. It should not be used as a point to speculate that A. and B. may one day be possible. This type of "teleportation" (C) has been part of standard quantum theory for over 50 years.
  4. Jan 4, 2009 #3


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    NO! There is no FTL quality to quantum teleportation.

    To the OP, firstly the popular idea of teleportation violates local conservation of matter/energy unless you want to invoke some type of worm-hole business.

    To get around this the more recent refinements of the popular version hypothesize either conversion of the matter to some form of wave e.g. light and "beaming" it to the second location, or transmitting the information encoding its state and copying the matter using local materials at the second location.

    As we get more sophisticated with the quantum physics we find that we cannot measure all observable quantities to perfectly copy a block of matter due to Heisenberg's uncertainty principle.

    However it is possible to carry out quantum teleportation which is simply copying all the information in a quantum system (e.g. an electron) to a "carrier system" (e.g. a photon) without actually making a measurement. The carrier system can then be transported to a second location where the information is then again copied to a third system isomorphic to the first (e.g. another electron).

    We can verify that this is done by showing that entanglement between the first system and some other system before the process is carried out will result in identical entanglement between the third system and this other system.

    We can thus "teleport" single particles and one day maybe whole atoms. In principle the process could be carried out with a large block of matter and so this may make a good science fiction plot device. In practice I don't believe you couldn't access all the particles in a large block of matter simultaneously with the devices necessary to carry out teleportation. So I think there are physical prohibitions of the more practical kind beyond any hope of advanced engineering to overcome them.

    Final notes. The carrier system will necessarily travel no faster than light. The act of copying the initial system is totally destructive in the sense that its quantum "state" is randomized in the process.
  5. Jan 4, 2009 #4


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    I stand by my original SHORT answer for the OP, who obviously is not going to follow a debate about the technical details of quantum teleportation.
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