Scientists in China have achieved quantum teleportation of photons across more than ten miles of free space with 89% fidelity. Ten miles would be far enough to reach the stratosphere from most locations on Earth (but not from the equator, the wiley bastard). Melt my face with physics, Ars Technica:
“Quantum teleportation” is quite different from how many people imagine teleportation to work. Rather than picking one thing up and placing it somewhere else, quantum teleportation involves entangling two things, like photons or ions, so their states are dependent on one another and each can be affected by the measurement of the other’s state. When one of the items is sent a distance away, entanglement ensures that changing the state of one causes the other to change as well, allowing the teleportation of quantum information, if not matter.
Previously quantum teleportation had only transported photons across a few meters of free space, not ten awesome miles. Experiments achieving more than a few meters sent photons along fiber channels, not nearly as practical as free space. Eventually this could be used to transmit information, but there are some caveats. Photons transmit information well, but they’re not as easy to encrypt as ions. Also, as previously mentioned, the fidelity was only 89%, enough to be used for transmitting information but not for teleporting you directly to work (damn). Now these scientists can start on their next teleportation goal: beaming over a new toaster for me. The last one I bought from their country already broke. I paid four whole dollars for that, and I only stuck a knife in it maybe three times, tops.