EDIT 12/27/19 2:50pm PT: Clarified that faster than light communication would contradict established theorems.
Quantum entanglement isn't a new term by any stretch of the imagination. In fact, it was once described by Albert Einstein as 'spooky action at a distance' because quantum entanglement appears to disobey one particular law of physics: the speed of light. It hasn't quite been sorted out to work for us in any tangible manner that can be implemented at a large scale, though, up until recently: Researchers from the University of Bristol and the Technical University of Denmark claim to have achieved the world's first chip-to-chip quantum teleportation on silicon -- a remarkable achievement that has been published in the journal Nature Physics (opens in new tab) (spotted by newatlas.com).
Quantum entanglement is the mating of two quantum particles, which will share a state regardless of their location respective to one another -- in other words, when particle A is manipulated, the effects will be measurable on particle B instantaneously, whether they are near each other or at a great distance. The theory is that this distance can be infinitely long, but the effects will still be instantly measurable, which would apparently enable faster-than-light communications even though that would fly against established theorems. Hence Einstein's remark.
“We were able to demonstrate a high-quality entanglement link across two chips in the lab, where photons on either chip share a single quantum state." said co-author Dan Llewellyn. “Each chip was then fully programmed to perform a range of demonstrations which utilize the entanglement. The flagship demonstration was a two-chip teleportation experiment, whereby the individual quantum state of a particle is transmitted across the two chips after a quantum measurement is performed. This measurement utilises the strange behaviour of quantum physics, which simultaneously collapses the entanglement link and transfers the particle state to another particle already on the receiver chip.”
Lead author, Dr Jianwei Wang, said: “In the future, a single silicon chip integration of quantum photonic devices and classical electronic controls will open the door for fully chip-based CMOS-compatible quantum communication and information processing networks.”
The results from the lab are also impressive with 91 percent of teleported data arriving as intended. Of course, that's the raw data stream, and using data packaging and hashing methods as we do today on other data transfer methods can ensure that all the data will arrive successfully at the cost of some bandwidth.
This isn't the step to full-fledged quantum computing though, but the ability for two pieces of silicon to communicate using quantum entanglement is a world's first, and an essential step in both quantum computing and the building of a quantum internet.
You could send a probe to the nearest star system which would take decades and still comunicate with it in real time . Pretty interesting stuff , I always thought that the speed of light was an unsurmountable obsticle to space travel .
Under those conditions, using the quantum link would be something reserved as a last resort after loss of normal comms to verify that the vehicle is still alive and attempt to restore normal comms.
No one ever expects from first try to be applicable in real world. It's just a first step. At least we know it's possible and we can improve and modify.
Quantum de-coherence will make those entangled links un-entangled rapidly over time. So you can't ship it with them - you need to send the receiver and transmitter a constant stream of shiney new entangled links and they both need to be within range of a reasonable survival probability of the links to the decay of quantum de-coherence.
For example if the de-coherence is 50% per second then you'd need to send 1024 links to have 50:50 chance that one of them is still valid when arriving at transmitter/receiver pairs at 10s distance at the speed of light... for Reed-Solomon codes to work you need a much lower error rate than that, so you'd need to send hundreds of thousands of entangled pairs to send one byte of data to a receiver 10s away.
So no, this will never be usable for the Mars Rover or anything much beyond planetary communications. At least not without relay stations every 10 light-seconds apart along the delivery route, or some new kind of entangled particle with 100 orders of magnitude lower rate of de-coherence than anything we have access to today. For example if we could entangle neutrinos, they would survive much longer without losing coherence since proximity to charged particles wouldn't affect them as they go on their merry way. The problem is, how do we entangle neutrinos and how to we detect them to the level of accuracy we require?
You can teleport data between 2 chips in relatively close proximity (perhaps even the width of the Earth) but if you want to relay data with Mars you're going to need a relay station every few light-seconds of distance along the transmission path, and there will be some latency in each hop, so it will not be instant. It could still be a significant factor of the speed of light though. ie if you can reliably transmit 10 light-seconds per hop and re-transmission takes 1 picosecond then you can still send messages at 10,000,000,000x the speed of light.
Entanglement is used to transmit encryption keys, over very large distances. People have even demonstrated doing this using laser beams to send some of the entangled photons to a remote station.