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Quantum information teleported between distant atoms

New technique can move fragile quantum data between atoms without destroying it

2:52pm, January 22, 2009
The February 10 broadcast of the Kojo Nnamdi show, a program of NPR affiliate WAMU in Washington, D.C., offered an overview of quantum computing with Science News editor in chief Tom Siegfried as a guest speaker. Link to the Kojo Nnamdi show site for February 10, scroll to “Breakthroughs in Quantum Computing” and choose “listen to this segment.”

A qubit walks into a bar, unsure of whether to order drink A or drink B. If the bartender asks the qubit what it wants, the qubit will collapse and be destroyed. But now researchers can instantly teleport the original, intact qubit to another “bar” far away.

In the Jan. 23 Science, a team is reporting what is the first successful transfer of a qubit — an undecided bit of quantum information — between two widely separated, charged atoms.

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