Researchers Propose Method For Teleporting Creatures’ Memories

A new spin on Schrödinger's cat
Teleportation doesn't work for humans — yet — but it works over long distances, a new study reports. Time Magazine

Teleportation is one of those future technologies I wish for almost every day–and never more longingly as when I wait for the delayed crowded subway to arrive. And while we’re not being beamed around like Star Trek promises, scientists have been working on the problem. In a recent paper from Tongcang Li at Purdue University and Zhang-qi Yin at Tsinghua University, the physicists describe a method for teleporting the memories (that is, the internal quantum state) of a living microorganism (like bacteria). The researchers write that mycoplasma are a particularly good candidate, since they are small, abundant, and have been preserved at extremely low temperatures before.

The researchers propose putting the bacteria onto the tiny membrane of an electromechanical oscillator and cooling them both down to a cryogenic temperature in order to put the bacteria into a state of quantum superposition. Previous research has shown that it’s possible to put this oscillator membrane into superposition, and doing so, the researchers say, will also put the bacteria into a quantum superposition state. Then, a superconducting circuit enables the bacteria’s internal spin state to be teleported to another microorganism. In the future, the researchers say that testing this method with a photosynthetic bacteria could help physicists better understand how biochemical reactions affect quantum wave function.

So sure, it’s not going to make my commute go away anytime soon, but I’ll take it.