Research team teleports quantum information into a diamond

Researchers use teleportation on diamonds

Quantum teleportation represents the future of how information is transmitted and stored. The advantage of quantum computing is that exponentially more data can be sent and cached on the quantum level.

While the technology is still in its infancy, researchers at Yokohama National University in Japan have taken a big step in sending and storing quantum information, as Futurism reports.

The Japanese team’s breakthrough sounds like science fiction: quantum teleportation within a diamond. To achieve this, the researchers used quantum entanglement. When sub-atomic particles become entangled, they exhibit a strange connection where one particle can reflect the properties of another. This process allows information to fly between the particles, even over vast distances.

In the team’s study, published in the journal Communications Physics, they weren’t teleporting information over great distances, but rather into what YNU Engineering Professor and author on the study, Hideo Kosaka, calls an “inaccessible space.” In this case, within a diamond.

More than just Bling

Diamonds contain optimal atomic structures for quantum teleportation and storage. They consist mostly of carbon atoms, but can also contain defects called “nitrogen-vacancy centers.” This flaw is notable when a nitrogen atom exists in the space where a carbon atom should be. These nitrogen-vacancy centers contain an electron and carbon isotope.

To achieve quantum teleportation within the diamond, the Japanese team created an oscillating magnetic field surrounding the artificially created gem. The magnetic field, in conjunction with microwaves and radio waves, entangle the electron and the carbon atom’s nucleus. Once entangled, the team fired a photon containing quantum data into the diamond. When researchers observed that the photon’s polarization state transferred to the carbon, they knew they had achieved quantum teleportation within the diamond.

‘Spooky Action at a Distance’

If quantum entanglement and teleportation sound esoteric, don’t feel bad. Even Albert Einstein doubted what he called “spooky action at a distance.” But as quantum theory developed over the 20th century, experiments proved that quantum entanglement did indeed exist.

However, even as recently as the early 1990s, researchers were unsure if quantum teleportation using entanglement could take place. It wasn’t until 2016 that the first quantum teleportation happened outside of a laboratory.

Related: IBM announces quantum computer, new weather forecasting system at CES 2019

But the breakthrough seemed to open a quantum teleportation Pandora’s box, so to speak. In 2017, a Chinese team teleported a photon from Earth to an orbiting satellite called Micius. The satellite headed to orbit specifically to test quantum entanglement, teleportation, and cryptography. The Earth-to-space teleportation smashed previous distance records for transmitting information through entanglement.

But while the Japanese team didn’t break any distance records, the implications of their study bode well for long-distance teleportation as well as memory and computing. “Our ultimate goal is to realize scalable quantum repeaters for long-haul quantum communications and distributed quantum computers for large-scale quantum computation and metrology,” Kosaka said.

In other words, the diamonds are like hard drives with the potential for much more storage than their non-quantum counterparts. And as the saying goes: “Diamonds are forever.”