A recent experiment in the Canary Islands has produced the world’s longest – in terms of distance – practical execution of the Quantum Entanglement Theory, with an incredible distance of 143km being achieved. This, in my opinion, signifies a fantastic step forward for data transfer and communications in general.
Why? What? Eh? These are typical responses to statements which include the words ‘Quantum’. Quantum mechanics isn’t exactly something most folk worry about in their day-to-day lives. In fact, it’s probably one of the more complex areas of science that humankind currently has access to, so it’s kind of understandable. Quantum mechanics is, in layman’s terms, the branch of physics that explains the behaviour of matter and its interactions with energy on the atomic (and sub-atomic) level.
Quantum entanglement is something that has been observed and recorded within this area, namely that if you take a paired set of particles and separate them, changes made to one of the particles can be observed in the other. The experiment in the Canary Islands has done just this; it’s taken two particles 143km away from each other, made a change to one of them, and observed the same change reflected in the separated twin.
No, that’s not a synopsis of a episode of Star Trek, or a codex entry from the latest Mass Effect game, it’s something that’s really happened.
“So what?” you ask.
The practical application of this is super-fast communications, potentially even faster than light communications. Rather than firing a string of photons off at the speed of light, have a photon at your intended destination that reflects the state of a photon at the source of origin. This could be truly superluminal communications.
Not yet, but one day. Hopefully.