Quantum teleportation of two properties wins Physics World Breakthrough of the Year Award

11 Dec 2015Bristol, UK



Chinese physicists Professor Chaoyang Lu and Professor Jian-Wei Pan have been awarded the Physics World 2015 Breakthrough of the Year, for being the first to achieve the simultaneous quantum teleportation of two inherent properties of a fundamental particle – the photon.

Successfully teleporting a quantum state involves measuring a system’s state, transmitting that information to a distant location, then reconstructing a flawless copy of the original state. A perfect transfer is done when the first particle loses all of the properties that are teleported to the other.

It was shown in 1993 that teleportation of a quantum state was theoretically possible, and the first actual teleportation of one property – the polarisation of a photon – was achieved in 1997. But Lu and Pan are the first to achieve quantum teleportation of two physical properties.

Lu (pictured below, left) and Pan (right), from the University of Science and Technology of China, in Hefei, hope to extend their work to teleportation of three properties. Though this is much more difficult, and requires the ability to entangle 10 photons, they hope to achieve this within a few months and move on to 20-photon entanglement within three years.

Pan said it was “very exciting indeed” to win the Physics Breakthrough of the Year Award and he is aware of the potential applications of the research. “In addition to its fundamental interest, quantum teleportation has been recognised as a key element in the ongoing development of long-distance quantum communications that provide unbreakable security, ultrafast quantum computers, and quantum networks,” he said.

Nine other achievements were shortlisted for the award, including the first direct detection of visible light from an exoplanet, the observation of two pentaquarks at CERN and the discovery that hydrogen sulphide is a superconductor at 203 K (a temperature that occurs naturally at the Earth’s surface), which could pave the way for room-temperature superconductors.

>>> Read the full list of breakthroughs over on physicsworld.com.

>>> Watch Physics World’s Google+ Hangout, where physicsworld.com editor Hamish Johnston talks with Pan and Lu about all things quantum.