Dream or nightmare for every logistician? At the push of a button, an object for transport disappears, zips through hidden dimensions and reappears in no time at another location. This is called “beaming”. A fantastic idea, in theory. But is that really possible? Can beaming ever replace the large international supply chains in industry and commerce?
At least there is a short answer to the latter question: beaming will remain a utopian idea for many years to come. As long as we haven’t solved some basic physical problems, effortless transport over space and time will remain a dream.
For beaming is nothing more than the destruction of an object in one place and its reconstruction in another. But this has never been achieved – because in order to transfer a complete object from one point to another, it would first have to be analyzed completely. A tremendous effort would be necessary, for example, to precisely analyze the approximately 10 to the power of 26 atoms that make up a human being. This is not yet possible with current technology. Nor is it possible to store, transport and reassemble these data volumes at another location without errors.
Teleportation for more security
However, there is a technically possible procedure that is comparable to beaming but is based on other principles: teleportation. An object at one location loses its properties, while a copy of the object at another location receives exactly these properties.
Teleportation is an effect in quantum physics, the physics of the smallest particles that make up our world. The properties of so-called “entangled particles” can be altered. These small objects, for example light particles, can be created at the same moment in one place and have exactly opposite properties. This entanglement continues even if there are large distances between the particles. A change of state of one particle therefore leads to a change of state of the other particle at exactly the same moment – regardless of how far apart they are from each other. In this way information could be transported through space and time without the need for any transfer media.
This astonishing effect would actually be irrelevant to logisticians, were it not for its unbeatable advantage: in telecommunications, for example, teleportation could provide more security because encryption could no longer be cracked.
By now, scientists have succeeded in making “quantum telephone calls” that were absolutely tap-proof. In the future, logistics companies could also benefit from their findings in order to make information – and thus supply chains – tamper-proof across many continents and participants.