Teleportation, a long-standing staple in the world of science fiction, has become a reality for scientists at the U.S. Army Research Laboratory in terms of battlefield data and image processing. Army Research Laboratory quantum information principal investigator Ronald Meyers and team member Keith Deacon recently demonstrated information teleportation using entangled photons.
This achievement stems from quantum information science insight and quantum information processing technology, which has been developed over the last two years by Meyers and his team. The technology developed includes an information teleportation exfiltration testbed and a teleportation exfiltration approach to move quantum images securely. This is a significant achievement because current secure network communications are increasingly vulnerable to eavesdropping and eventual hacking with the use of ever more powerful computers.
The team has developed a prototype information teleportation network system as part of the testbed to quantify teleportation of information using eye- safe entangled photons, thus showing potential for secure teleportation over optical fiber or through free-space. In entangled photon-based teleportation, a photon carrying potentially many bits of information interacts with one of an entangled pair of photons, and then the information is teleported to the other distant entangled photon where it is read by the recipient. In essence, teleportation in this instance can be thought of as a kind of communication, where a qubit, or unit of quantum information, can be transported from one location to another, without having to move a physical particle along with it.
Consider a special operations mission where a soldier is behind enemy lines. To exfiltrate information to his or her command post in a friendly area, the soldier operates a small handheld teleportation exfiltration device, which will allow data and images to be securely teleported back to the command post. According to Meyers, the team believes that the teleportation exfiltration approach will be successful between mobile assets over long distances at high speeds, just as their quantum ghost-imaging achievements are leading to a new generation of battlefield imagers.
"The [Army Research Laboratory] teleportation achievements are expected to be the basis for new types of Army mobile information teleportation networks for battlefield enhanced situational awareness and security," Meyers said. "This research will benefit future soldiers by helping provide the Army with battlefield information teleportation networks that will be both cybersecure and fast."
In addition, the method is being developed to be robust for adverse military environments with turbulence and obscurants. "The success in achieving quantum teleportation over long distances through an obscured battlefield is difficult, but future mobile ad-hoc information teleportation networks can give the future Army exponential advantages in cyber security, speed and bandwidth," Meyers said.
Meyers stated that the field of teleportation is advancing rapidly, and that despite the challenges that may lie ahead, he and his team see no significant roadblocks and expect more advances in their research that has the potential to enhance the way soldiers carry out their missions on the battlefield.