2011's 10 Biggest Moments in Science


Researchers Succeed in Quantum Teleportation of Light Waves

Quantum teleportation is the future of computing.
Quantum teleportation is the future of computing.
Colin Anderson/Photographer's Choice/Getty Images

Don't get too excited, because you'll still have to commute to work in the morning rather than pile into a handy telepod, but in 2011 Japanese and Australian researchers successfully demonstrated quantum teleportation on light waves.

Led by researchers at the University of Tokyo, the team took a nugget of quantum information, in the form of light, and manipulated it into a quantum superposition so that it existed in two states at the same time. Like Schrödinger's cat, which is simultaneously alive and dead in the famous thought experiment, the superpositioned light exists in two states at once. The scientists were able to exploit this to destroy the light in one location and recreate it in another.

The idea itself isn't new. Physicist Charles Bennett and a team of researchers at IBM confirmed the possibility back in 1993. Subsequent experiments proved quantum teleportation was possible, but now it exists firmly in the realm of science fact. As superposition underlies the power of quantum computing, scientists hope the technology will lead to even faster quantum computers.