Quantum Teleportation May be Possible: Electrons Remain Entangled Even After Separation

First Posted: Jul 01, 2015 02:17 PM EDT

Scientists may have taken a step closer to teleportation. Researchers have successfully produced pairs of spin-entangled electrons and have demonstrated that these electrons remain entangled even when they're separated from one another. This could, in theory, could help contribute to the creation of futuristic quantum networks operating using quantum teleportation.

"We set out to demonstrate that spin-entangled electrons could be reliably produced," said Russell Deacon, one of the researchers, in a news release. "So far, researchers have been successful in creating entangled photons, since photons are extremely stable and do not interact. Electrons, by contrast, are profoundly affected by their environment. We chose to try to show that electrons can be entangled through their spin, a property that is relatively stable."

The scientists actually created a tiny device just a few hundred nanometers in size. The idea was to take a Cooper pair, which is a pair of electrons that allows electricity to flow freely in superconductors, and get them, while tunneling, across a junction between two superconductor leads, to pass through two separate "quantum dots."

"If we could detect a superconducting current, this would mean that the electrons, which can be used as quantum bits-the qubits, or bits used in quantum computing-remain entangled even when they have been separated between the quantum dots," said Deacon. "We confirm this separation by measuring a superconducting current that develops when they split and are recombined in the second lead."

The quantum dots were grown at random positions on a semiconductor chip. This chip was then examined using an atomic force microscope. In the end, the scientists identified a hundred suitable dots and found two that worked.

By measuring the superconducting current, the scientists showed clearly that the spin of the electrons remained entangled as they passed through the separate quantum dots.

"This discovery is very exciting, as it could lead eventually to the development of applications such as quantum networks and quantum teleportation," said Sego Tarucha, leader of the laboratory that conducted the work.

The findings are published in the journal Nature Communications.

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