Researchers beam light particle across fibre network

An artist's impression of what a photon looks like. Researchers in Canada have successfully teleported a photon light particle over a straight line .

Researchers in Canada have successfully teleported a photon light particle over a straight line 3.7 miles long. The photon was transported using a fibre optic cable, setting a record for quantum teleportation.

Led by Wolfgang Tittel, a physics and astronomy professor at the University of Calgary, the research team based their design on quantum entanglement. This is when two photons are joined together in such a way that they remain linked no matter how far they are separated.

So when the researchers sent a photon to Calgary’s City Hall, it stayed entangled with its photon pair that remained at the university.

The researchers then generated the photon at the university in Calgary. From this third location, the photon travelled to City Hall to meet the photon sent there earlier as one half of the entangled pair. Did you get that? Re-read and repeat if necessary.

The photon's quantum state was instantaneously transferred onto the remaining photon part of the entangled pair, which was sitting 3.7 miles away at the University of Calgary.

The teleportation was made possible by dark fibre, which is so named because it is made up of one optical cable without network equipment or electronics that could impede quantum technology.

The City of Calgary has been increasing its fibre optic footprint of late in order to create next-generation services.

Long distance teleportation over long distances is a key step forward in the development of a secure quantum internet, which is one of the long-term goals of Tittel and his fellow researchers. 

  • You can find out more about innovations in light technology at this year's LuxLive. The exhibition will take place in London on Wednesday 23 November and Thursday 24 November 2016. You can find out more by clicking here.