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Quantum mechanics is the physics of the very small -- the size of atoms. When you get down to that size, matter starts to act really strange. There's a number of quantum phenomena that, if you were to scale up to a size we could see with the naked eye, they would seem more like science fiction than actual science. One such phenomenon is quantum entanglement, where information can seemingly be transferred between two particles without the transfer of any physical information. Some have compared it to teleportation; others see it as a way of moving faster than the speed of light. Until now, it's been theoretical, but recently a team of Chinese scientists were able to recreate it in a lab.
So what exactly is entanglement? It occurs between two sub-atomic particles, such as a photon or electron. Every subatomic particle can be classified by a property known as its "spin", which could be considered a unit of information. When two quantum particles are "entangled", their spin is related even if they are far apart. In the past, quantum physicists generated entangled particles by focusing a single photon on a special crystal using a laser. These photons would split into two lower-energy photons whose individual polarizations maintain a relationship with each other. These researchers were able to transmit information between entangled particles that didn't have that initial physical interaction. Instead of generating the entangled particles inside a crystal, they put the quantum object in space and then directed a laser past it. The laser's photons do not interact with each other, but their properties do depend on the quantum object between them, so they get entangled.
The implications for this technology are massive. We could create a super-fast internet or computing systems that used quantum information. Caltech professor Jeff Kimble first proposed a quantum internet in 2008, and it looks like we may have just taken one step closer to making it a reality.
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Traveling without moving: Quantum communication scheme transfers quantum states without transmitting physical particles (via Phys.org)
"While Einstein considered quantum entanglement as 'spooky action at a distance,' and those who fully accept entanglement acknowledge it to be counterintuitive, current entanglement-based quantum communication schemes for transferring an unknown quantum state from one place to another require classical transportation of particles between sender and receiver."