Einstein called it “spooky action at a distance”. Physicists have come to call it “entanglement”. It’s a complicated idea but basically what happens to one set of particles might affect another set of particles over a given distance. And for scientists, this opens up so many more possibilities.
It’s Not Just Sci-Fi Anymore!
Quantum Entanglement gave way to the theory of Quantum Teleportation, which scientists around the world have already accomplished. Quantum Teleportation doesn’t allow for the teleportation of objects like in Science-Fiction, but it does allow for information to be sent over vast distances, potentially even light-years, instantly.
Quantum mechanics is a field of physics developed in the early 20th Century, most notably by Albert Einstein. It deals with the nature of incredibly small particles, on the atomic and subatomic levels. Quantum mechanics has led to such inventions like lasers, superconducting magnets, and microprocessors, but much of the field still remains theoretical.
Quantum mechanics gave way to quantum teleportation, which says that since two particles are inextricably linked, what happens to one will have an opposite reaction on the other, no matter the distance between them. But quantum teleportation requires that the entangled particles need to have been produced in the same place. However, if a third particle, such as photons, are introduced, the particles may be entangled over a distance in a process called counterfactual quantum communication.
Counterfactual quantum communication. It’s a mouthful and somewhat difficult to understand. Counterfactual quantum communication is based on something called the Quantum Zeno Effect, which allows an established field between two particles to be measured. Thus when something taps into said field, the measurements are changed, revealing a breach of security.
Researchers in China have successfully sent entangled pairs of particles to three ground stations via an experimental satellite. The ground stations are over 1,200 kilometers apart from one another. The experiment paves the way for a quantum-backed internet. As of now, the data transmission between stations is far too small to support any large-scale communications such as video or audio. However, since any outside interference in the data streams is immediately observable, it makes the prospect of hacking the stream very difficult.