Electricity teleportation devised

February 11/18, 2004

Researchers from Leiden University in the Netherlands have devised a way to teleport electricity.

Teleportation is possible at the atomic scale, and was discovered a decade ago for photons in free space. The researchers' proposal works for electrons contained in conductors, and could eventually be used within computer circuits.

A major obstacle to quantum teleportation is that in a metal or semiconductor electrons exist in a crowd, dubbed the Fermi sea, making individual electrons difficult to isolate and manipulate.

When the two carriers of electrical current -- negatively-charged electrons and positively-charged holes -- meet, they cancel each other out. The researchers have postulated that an entangled electron, however, could continue its existence at a distant location.

Entangled electrons are connected in such a way that specific properties of the electrons remain synchronized regardless of the physical distance between them.

The method could eventually be used to instantly transport information between the quantum bits, or qubits, of a quantum computer if electrons could be transported over distances of around 100 microns. Quantum computers use the properties of particles like photons, electrons and atoms to compute and are theoretically very fast at certain large problems, including those that would render today's encryption-based security systems obsolete.

Laboratory demonstrations showing that the method could be used to transport electrons a few microns could happen within two to five years; practical applications are a decade or two away, according to the researchers. The work appeared in the December, 2003 issue of Physical Review Letters.

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