Teleportation may bring to mind "Star Trek" and "Beam me up, Scotty," but in this case the researchers from Austria, Canada and Germany say they beamed the quantum state of a particle of light -- a photon -- from one island to another 89 miles away, LiveScience.com reported.
"One can actually transfer the quantum states of a particle -- in our case a photon -- from one location to another location without physically transferring this photon itself," said physicist Xiaosong Ma of the Institute for Quantum Optics and Quantum Information at the Austrian Academy of Sciences in Vienna.
The researchers began with a particle to be teleported and two "entangled" particles, a mind-bending tenet of quantum mechanics that says if two particles are entangled they are connected and even if separated over vast distances, an action performed on one is reflected in the other.
The experiment began with all three photons on the island of La Palma, one of the Canary Islands off the coast of Spain. One of the entangled photons was beamed 89 miles to the Canary Island of Tenerife.
Since it was one of an entangled pair, when a measurement of the quantum states of the two particles remaining on La Palma was made it affected the particle sent to Tenerife, allowing the first particle to be essentially re-created in a new location without physically traversing the distance, researchers said.