Star Trek and The No-Cloning Theorem

TL;DR: Object teleportation is still just science-fiction as demonstrated in the Star Trek movie. However, quantum information teleportation is possible, conforming to the laws of quantum mechanics.
A USS Discovery is approaching the planet of the Klingon homeworld of Qo’noS. A scene from a recent Star Trek “Discovery” movie on Netflix, Season 1 Episode 15 “Will you take my hand?” (2017).

Star Trek & Advancements in Far-Future Technologies

Star Trek, a well-known science fiction movie, has brought forward many far-future advancements in technologies to be perceived as available at present (in the mid 22nd century to the late 32nd century) in the last season of Star Trek Discovery, 2020. Two notable technologies are warp drive and replicator.

Teleportation in Star Trek

Another advancement includes teleportation, the instantaneous transporting of a person or an object to a distant location. The process starts at the source by converting the persons or objects to an energy pattern “dematerialization,” beam the energy pattern to a target location, then converted back to matter at the destination “rematerialization.”

A scene shows a Transporter in a recent Star Trek “Discovery” movie on Netflix, Season 1 Episode 15 “Will you take my hand?” (2017). The Transporter at the source (Spacecraft: USS Discovery) is dematerializing 4 persons (from left to right: Ash Tyler, Sylvia Tilly, Captain Philippa Georgiou, and Michael Burnham) along with a few objects attached to the humans, converting it to an energy pattern for teleportation, then beam it to the destination.
A scene shows a Transporter in a recent Star Trek “Discovery” movie on Netflix, Season 1 Episode 15 “Will you take my hand?” (2017). The Transporter at the destination planet (Klingon homeworld of Qo’noS) is rematerializing 4 persons from an energy pattern and a few objects attached to the humans.

Quantum Mechanics

According to (Wikipedia 2020b), quantum mechanics is a “fundamental theory in physics that describes nature's physical properties at the scale of atoms and subatomic particles. It is the foundation of all quantum physics including quantum chemistry, quantum field theory, quantum technology, and quantum information science.”

Teleportation in Quantum Mechanics

As defined in quantum mechanics, teleportation is not about doing the actual object teleportation as shown in the movie, not even doing the single particle's teleportation. By quantum teleportation, we are teleporting quantum information (the state of the particle, e.g., a quantum bit or qubit), not the teleportation of the actual particle or qubit itself.

Teleporting state of Qubit 0:q₀ to Qubit 2: q₂ through Qubit 1: q₁. At the end of the measurement of q₂, it will contain whatever state of q₀ (in Classical Register 2: c₂).

No-Cloning Theorem

According to (Wikipedia 2020a), in physics, “the no-cloning theorem states that it is impossible to create an independent and identical copy of an arbitrary unknown quantum state, a statement which has profound implications in the field of quantum computing among others.” Further, a quantum state is defined as “a mathematical entity that provides a probability distribution for the outcomes of each possible measurement on a system.”

To the Future

The first pilot episode of Star Trek that introduced teleportation, “The Cage,” was completed in 1965. The no-cloning theorem, on the other hand, was just published in 1982. Should Gene Roddenberry was aware of the no-cloning theorem when he created the movie, we might be watching different technology applications regarding teleportation. Gene was the screenwriter, producer, and creator of the original Star Trek television series.

References

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