Scientists Demonstrate Long Distance Quantum Communication
NEWS ANALYSIS: Scientists have shown that some subatomic particles exhibit quantum entanglement, which potentially enables unhackable communications that may be able to travel faster than the speed of light.
The theory of quantum entanglement has been around for over half a century, but until recently this very strange property of some subatomic particles has been difficult to prove. Now experiments are showing it's a very real phenomenon. Quantum entanglement is a property that allows those particles to share characteristics, so that when they're put into close proximity, they become indistinguishable. Two or more particles can become entangled, so that when scientists measure the state of one particle, other particles appear to exhibit the same state. When talking about the state of some particle, that means determining some characteristic such as the spin of the particle. Because of Heisenberg's Uncertainty principle, you can never know all of the characteristics of a particle, such as its speed and location. If you measure its speed, you can't measure its location and vice versa. But once you measure one characteristic of one particle, the uncertainty of the others collapses and they display the same characteristic.
What's important is that change from uncertainty to knowing a specific state of the particle happens instantaneously, without regard to distance. This means that if you were to separate the particles by sending one to Pluto while keeping the other on Earth, the change in state would be detected instantly instead of taking the average 4.5 hours it takes a signal to reach the planet at the speed of light.