This news article, led me to this website, describing a scheme (arXiv:0706.0062, “Teleportation of massive particles without shared entanglement” A. S. Bradley, M. K. Olsen, S. A. Haine and J. J. Hope) for transporting matter waves between two remote BECs. The basic idea is a setup where mater wave gets converted into information in photons which then gets written back onto another BEC. A very cool idea (if probably experimentally challenging!) However, in all of the above the articles, the experiment is described as “teleportation.” Now don’t get me wrong, I think the experiment would be very cool if you could pull it off, but does this type of setting really deserve the moniker of “teleportation”? Now normally I would call a setup like what they authors describe a quantum state transfer protocol and not teleportation. In teleportation you use entanglment and classical communication to transmit quantum information. In the above setting you swap the information from the matter wave to the light field and then back out again, with no use of entanglment or classical communication. The authors, probably sensing the existence of 32-year-old-curmudgeons like me, write
Although our scheme is quite distinct from what is normally termed quantum teleportation,
we feel that it is closer in spirit to the original fictional concept and so will use the term to describe our system.
Okay, so we could argue about this nomenclature until we turn ourselves into chemists. But the real question, I think, is not one of naming rights (although seeing as how the preprint is PRL pages long, and that damn APS journal is the king of the pedantic, there might be some interesting editor/author wrestling matches ahead.) No, the real question is whether the experiment described above is actually close in spirit to the original fictional concept!
So which is more like Star Trek teleportation? The teleportation ideas of Bennett et al. which use entanglement and classical communication or the “teleportation” ideas described above?