Humans may have gotten one step closer to figuring out how to make wormholes thanks to fascinating new research.
That's at least according to Hatim Saleh, a research fellow at the University of Bristol and co-founder of the startup DotQuantum, who claims to have invented what he calls "counterportation," which "provides the first-ever practical blueprint for creating in the lab a wormhole that verifiably bridges space," according to a statement.
Published in the journal Quantum Science and Technology, Saleh's research focused on a novel quantum computing technique that should — at least on paper — be able to reconstitute a small object across space "without any particles crossing."
While it's an exciting prospect, realizing his vision will require a lot more time and effort — not to mention next-generation quantum computers that haven't been designed, let alone built yet. That is if it's even possible at all.
Counterportation can be achieved, the study suggests, by the construction of a small "local wormhole" in a lab — and as the press release notes, plans are already underway to actually build the groundbreaking technology described in the paper.
While it sounds a lot like teleportation, Saleh noted that it's not quite the same thing.
"While counterportation achieves the end goal of teleportation, namely disembodied transport, it remarkably does so without any detectable information carriers traveling across," the quantum expert said.
The concept relies on a unique aspect of quantum physics called quantum entanglement, which allows "entirely separate quantum particles" to "be correlated without ever interacting," as University of Bristol optical communication systems professor John Rarity explained in the statement.
"This correlation at a distance can then be used to transport quantum information (qubits) from one location to another without a particle having to traverse the space, creating what could be called a traversable wormhole," he added.
To make counterportation a reality, however, is going to take a whole lot more research — and future breakthroughs in the quantum computing field.
"If counterportation is to be realized, an entirely new type of quantum computer has to be built: an exchange-free one, where communicating parties exchange no particles," said Saleh.
Unfortunately, these machines are still a distant dream as "no one yet knows how to build" them, Saleh admitted.
When and if this exchange-free quantum computer is built, per the researcher, it could prove revolutionary in the field.
"By contrast to large-scale quantum computers that promise remarkable speed-ups, which no one yet knows how to build, the promise of exchange-free quantum computers of even the smallest scale is to make seemingly impossible tasks — such as counterportation — possible, by incorporating space in a fundamental way alongside time," Saleh boasted.
While this definitely sounds like something out of the plot of the 2014 film "Interstellar," reconstituting small objects by leveraging the weirdness of the quantum world is an exciting proposition whether it's a long shot or not.
More on wormholes: Objects We Thought Were Black Holes May Actually Be Wormholes, Scientists Say