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Teleportation Gets a Boost 405

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the no-more-beaming-i'll-walk dept.
saavyone writes to tell us Yahoo! News is reporting that while teleportation may not quite be a reality yet a team of Danish scientists have raised the bar on this line of research. From the article: "The experiment involved for the first time a macroscopic atomic object containing thousands of billions of atoms. They also teleported the information a distance of half a meter but believe it can be extended further. 'Teleportation between two single atoms had been done two years ago by two teams but this was done at a distance of a fraction of a millimeter,' Polzik, of the Danish National Research Foundation Center for Quantum Optics, explained. 'Our method allows teleportation to be taken over longer distances because it involves light as the carrier of entanglement,' he added."
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Teleportation Gets a Boost

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  • by slimjim8094 (941042) <slashdot3@NosPAM.justconnected.net> on Wednesday October 04, 2006 @05:38PM (#16312307)
    will a physicist explain what this means? I have a reasonable understanding of physics (for somebody who hasn't studied it) and I have no idea what this means. Does it mean that we can apply energy in some way and make it go somewhere else instantaneously (the more traditional definition of teleportation)? Probably not, but then what?
    • Re:Please... (Score:5, Informative)

      by MyNymWasTaken (879908) on Wednesday October 04, 2006 @05:52PM (#16312535)
      This process allows you to copy quantum information from one set of atoms to another without measuring it, and thereby destroying it.

      It's still isn't anywhere near dematerializing the matter and poof`ing it across the room/planet. However, what is happening is the quantum information (in this case, the spin state) of the matter has been instantly transported. That is a essential step in building a quantum computer or cryptography network.
      • Isn't this effectively a way of measuring quantum information without destroying it? You copy the info then measure it on the copy, not the original so the original retains its state?
        • by Hawkxor (693408)
          copying the quantum information destroys the original, it's a fundamental property

          however, if we are speaking about teleporting something bigger, it may turn out that we only need to copy the non-quantum information about the particles, which would actually make it duplication more than teleportation.
          • by Hawkxor (693408)
            however, it occurs to me that if this latter possibility (no need to teleport quantum information) was the case, quantum teleportation even in the first case would preserve the original, since it wouldn't matter that the spins of all the atoms in the original get mucked with.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by ray-auch (454705)
        This process allows you to copy quantum information from one set of atoms to another without measuring it, and thereby destroying it.

        If you can't measure it in the first place (and the original gets destroyed in the process), how do you know that what you end up with is a copy ?
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by pscottdv (676889)
      One of the fundamental laws of physics is that particles are "exchangeable." Essentially, this means that any two electrons or protons or whatnot are identical so they can be exchanged without changing the physical system (there is a complication related to whether a particle is a fermion or a boson or [in the case of a 2D system] an "anyon").

      So, if I can transmit information in such a way as to make one group of particles be in exactly the same quantum state as another group of particles, I have "teleport
    • Re:Please... (Score:5, Interesting)

      by tloh (451585) on Wednesday October 04, 2006 @05:58PM (#16312679)
      That yahoo article isn't really saying much at all. There is almost no real information on how they did it. Scientific American has a much more detailed description. http://www.sciam.com/article.cfm?chanID=sa003&arti cleID=000E9691-0261-1524-826183414B7F0000 [sciam.com]

      In taking the next step, Eugene Polzik and his colleagues at the Niels Bohr Institute in Copenhagen shined a strong laser beam onto a cloud of room-temperature cesium atoms whose spins were all pointing in the same direction and fluctuating according to their given quantum state. The laser became entangled with the collective spin of the cloud, meaning that the quantum states of laser and gas shared the same amplitude but had opposite phases. The goal was to transfer, or teleport, the quantum state of a second light beam onto the cloud.

      To do so, the group mixed a second, weaker laser pulse with the strong laser and split the superimposed beams into two arms. A detector in one arm measured the sum of the beams' amplitudes and a detector in the second arm measured the difference between their phases. Neither measurement disturbed the delicate entangled state between the light and cesium. But the researchers could use the results to apply a precise magnetic field to the cesium vapor that effectively canceled out the ensemble's original spin state and replaced it with one that corresponded to the polarization of the weak pulse, as they report in the 5 October Nature.
    • by squiggleslash (241428) on Wednesday October 04, 2006 @06:01PM (#16312735) Homepage Journal

      It's really quite simple. The system involves two opaque boxes (A and B), both with closable lids,.

      One operator places the item to be teleported in box A and closes the lid. The operator of box B then opens the box and observes the contents. By doing so, the item appears in box B.

      This works because of the way particle physics works. Any object may be in multiple places until it is actually observed. By hiding the item from one operator, the location of the item becomes unknown, and therefore the other operator is able to transport it to them merely by observing one of the locations it may have travelled to.

      Really, this is elementary physics and it's surprising how rarely we take advantage of it. I actually go to work every morning by going to the bathroom, alone, closing the door, and then phoning a collegue at work, asking him to open the cubicle door at the bathroom there. By keeping my eyes closed at the precise moment he opens the door, I am able to ensure my own location is unobserved, and therefore that my precise whereabouts are unknown until my collegue opens the door and observes me. It's very useful and saves a lot of gas, but has the disadvantage that you have to rely upon there being someone whereever you want to travel to that you can contact who can observe the contents of a previously unobservable man-sized space. Also there's the danger that two people might do the same thing at once, in which case there's the danger of a time/space paradox being created.

      • by kfg (145172) * on Wednesday October 04, 2006 @06:14PM (#16312919)
        Oh yeah, yer like being all smug and shit about it now, but just you wait until the day comes when he opens the door and observes you dead.

        KFG
      • by DrVomact (726065) on Wednesday October 04, 2006 @06:43PM (#16313359) Journal
        And if two physicists were to accidentally emerge in the same stall, they'd be a pair o' docs?
      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by JPeMu (942971)
        There's also a nice article in the Sept 30 issue of New Scientist (although this article is related to the study of bridging time-continuum in order to effectively "modify" the past).

        Although the article isn't a "teleportation" article, it does provide a fairly in-depth explanation of the principle and implications of entanglement. The article then takes this one step further by suggesting that if the two paths that the entangled photons took were then themselves split, but splitting the second path an ad
  • by vasanth (908280) on Wednesday October 04, 2006 @05:39PM (#16312341)
    now beam down my clothes!!!!!!!
  • by mr_stinky_britches (926212) on Wednesday October 04, 2006 @05:40PM (#16312345) Homepage Journal
    Anyone have a link to this teleportation video?
  • SciAm article (Score:5, Informative)

    by MyNymWasTaken (879908) on Wednesday October 04, 2006 @05:41PM (#16312373)
    Here is Scientific American's article on the matter.

    First Teleportation Between Light and Matter [sciam.com]
    • Re:SciAm article (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Chemisor (97276) on Wednesday October 04, 2006 @07:13PM (#16313755)
      According to the SciAm article, all they did was measure the quantum state of a cesium atom cloud without disturbing the cloud.

      Neither measurement disturbed the delicate entangled state between the light and cesium. But the researchers could use the results to apply a precise magnetic field to the cesium vapor that effectively canceled out the ensemble's original spin state and replaced it with one that corresponded to the polarization of the weak pulse


      I don't know why people keep calling it "teleportation" or any other quantum crap. A very simple way of describing what happened is that they figured out a way to beat the uncertainty principle by creating multiple copies of the same information and measuring amplitude and phase of different copies. Because both copies are identical, any information obtained about one copy is valid about the others, so a complete set of parameters can be determined. It should be pointed out that this experiment clearly demonstrates that the uncertainty principle is not some fundamental property of the universe, but rather an artifact of our measurement instruments. This is the very point that Einstein tried so hard to prove back in 1927, and the one so throughly disputed by the evil Niels Bohr. Unfortunately, Bohr won the argument for some reason, perhaps just out of stubbornness, and the present unsightly state of the science of physics resulted. Perhaps now the quantum heretics can be brought back to the one true faith of objective reality!

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        This is the very point that Einstein tried so hard to prove back in 1927, and the one so throughly disputed by the evil Niels Bohr. Unfortunately, Bohr won the argument for some reason, perhaps just out of stubbornness, and the present unsightly state of the science of physics resulted. Perhaps now the quantum heretics can be brought back to the one true faith of objective reality!

        Einstein is always right, Niels Bohr is evil (?!) and your talking about one true faith of objective reality?

        Are you ON somethin
  • by Dan East (318230) on Wednesday October 04, 2006 @05:42PM (#16312391) Homepage Journal
    Apparently these scientists have never watched TRON, or they'd quit why they're ahead. Or, perhaps they know the risks and have brushed up on their 80's era arcade gaming skills.

    Dan East
    • Teleporting would severely hamper governments' abilities to control the movement of people and other material objects. In this age of paranoid fear of terrorists, and other control oriented behaviour (tax, excise, War On Drugs, War On Illegal Aliens,..., one wonders whether governments will shut down any programs before they get anywhere near making practical teleporting work.
  • by Dr. Eggman (932300)
    While I'd be fine transporting the quantum state, ect. for my new super computer laptop, you'd never get me into one of those things. I'd rather keep (the vast majority at any one time) of my atoms and subatomic particles with me.

    But could you imagine if they could utilize a version of this teleportation to transfer the information to multiple places at once? Wow! That'd be a huge boon to subatomic construction technology!
    • by grammar fascist (239789) on Wednesday October 04, 2006 @05:51PM (#16312529) Homepage
      But could you imagine if they could utilize a version of this teleportation to transfer the information to multiple places at once? Wow! That'd be a huge boon to subatomic construction technology!

      If they're using quantum teleportation, they can't. It's not possible to clone generic quantum states. Specific ones, yes, but that won't cover everything.

      The article is wonderfully sparse on actual information. A "macroscopic atomic object containing thousands of billions of atoms" was "involved," but what does that mean, exactly? Probably not that it was transformed to light (or light was transformed to it), nor that it was actually teleported.

      My favorite part of quantum teleportation is that, if it ever is used to teleport objects, it'll have to transfer the state from the source atoms into some entangled destination atoms. Then the state will be lost in the source, and you'll be left with a mound of goo. That'd really make people want to try it out.
      • In almost all given cases (e.g. Star Trek), the teleporter destroys the "original".

        Why would the teleported object melt into goo rather than simply vanishing in a de-atomized puff?
        • by Jerf (17166)
          More to the point than KFG's answer, Star Trek is not science.

          The real question is why objects would disappear, not why they wouldn't. In the real world, everything has to go somewhere and the idea that you can tear something apart at the molecular level and send it somewhere in a "beam" is absurd.
      • by sm62704 (957197)
        It's not possible to clone generic quantum states.

        Not yet. Thirty years ago the whole idea of teleporting anything, even just spin states, was a preposterous proposition.
        • Cloning is very different from teleporting.

          It's not just preposterous, it's provably impossible. If someone manages to do it, it'd shake up all of quantum mechanics, which is one of the most well-tested theories there is.

          Not that I'd shed a tear, mind you, because the replacement would be very exciting.
      • by Firehed (942385)
        My favorite part of quantum teleportation is that, if it ever is used to teleport objects, it'll have to transfer the state from the source atoms into some entangled destination atoms. Then the state will be lost in the source, and you'll be left with a mound of goo. That'd really make people want to try it out.

        That's why God invented mice!
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Ryan Amos (16972)
      There are certain ethical questions that go along with teleportation of humans as well.

      If you create a perfect atomic copy of a living being and then destroy the original, is the copy really the same as the original? What if you just never destroyed the original? Is destroying the original tantamount to murder?

      I think questions like this will mean that even when we have the technology to do this with large objects (even living objects,) it will never be used on humans. The ethical risks, and our inability t
      • by memfrob (157990)

        If you create a perfect atomic copy of a living being and then destroy the original, is the copy really the same as the original? What if you just never destroyed the original? Is destroying the original tantamount to murder?

        Luckily, with this method of teleportation, we'll never have those types of questions. Instantaneously as the "copy" is created, the "original" ceases to exist by phsyical laws; there is no "...and _then_ destroy the original", because the original is gone. For all intents and purpos

      • If you create a perfect atomic copy of a living being and then destroy the original, is the copy really the same as the original?

        Yes. That's what the word "perfect" means. If you destroy the original, you just killed it.

        What if you just never destroyed the original?

        Property rights would have to be split between the two. It would be like divorce court.

        A person chosing to undergo such a transportation would be agreeing to having a copy of himself made, and transfering all his property rights to that person. H

    • by sm62704 (957197)
      If it ever gets to the point whare they can teleport whole atoms rather than just spin states, imagine what that could do to surgery? They wouldn't have to cut you open to put a pacemaker in your chest or an IOL in your eyeball. [slashdot.org]
  • by creimer (824291) on Wednesday October 04, 2006 @05:45PM (#16312429) Homepage
    I could use it to teleport all the dust bunnies hiding behind computers to a passing Klingon ship.
  • by truthsearch (249536) on Wednesday October 04, 2006 @05:48PM (#16312465) Homepage Journal
    thousands of billions of atoms

    Trillions, even?
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Actually, it depends. Are those English billions or mostly-the-rest-of-the-world-billions?

      English-speaking world/Parts of Asia/One or two other places: 1 billion = 1000 millions = 1x10^9
      "Rest of the world": 1 billion = 1 million millions = 1x10^12

      Similarly, trillion will mean:
      a) 1x10^12
      b) 1x10^18

      So, "thousands of billions" is the same as "trillions" in english-speaking countries, but not in the rest of the world. Since we're talking about danish scientists, I'm guessing it's the second option.

    • Given that they are in Europe, they are presumably using british English, where "thousands of billions" is the correct term for 10^15. So in American English, that would be Quadrillions.

      Trillions, in British English, would be 10^18, but if he meant that he'd probalby have said so.

      That American & British English spell various words differently is completely understandable, that we use the same words for totally different numbers is utterly ridiculous.
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward
      You were likely going for humor, but if you were interested, the traditional british meaning of the number is not the same as the US meaning:

      10^6 million (million)
      10^9 billion (thousand million)
      10^12 trillion (billion)
      10^15 quadrillion (thousand billion)
      10^18 quintillion (trillion)
      10^21 sextillion (thousand trillion)
      10^24 septillion (quadrillion)
      10^27 octillion (thousand quadrillion)

      As per http://alt-usage-english.org/excerpts/fxbill00.htm l [alt-usage-english.org]
    • Hehe. I'm still trying to figure out how something with thousands of billions of atoms can be described as atomic. Or where they are finding macroscopic atoms. Must have teleported it in from another dimension.
  • ...sent and not the actual atoms (or constituent particles) that are sent by 'entangling' the local object's atoms with particles being sent to the remote location? In other words it is duplication as opposed to actual moving something (other than the information), right? Or am I missing something? Like 'faxing'?
  • by hobo sapiens (893427) on Wednesday October 04, 2006 @05:54PM (#16312603) Journal
    ...that nerds will stop at NOTHING to prove Star Trek is real. First, transparent aluminum [slashdot.org], now this.
  • You know... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by suv4x4 (956391)
    I'll be glad if theys top calling information transportation via light entaglement "teleportation".

    We all know what we expect from an article talking about teleportation, and it definitely doesn't involve crypted conversation technologies.
  • How did they handle heisenberg compensation?
  • by TheWoozle (984500) on Wednesday October 04, 2006 @05:56PM (#16312649)
    I think Douglas Adams said it best:

    I teleported home one night
    With Ron and Sid and Meg;
    Ron stole Meggie's heart away
    And I got Sidney's leg.
  • Ok I will do it (Score:3, Insightful)

    by COMON$ (806135) on Wednesday October 04, 2006 @05:57PM (#16312661) Journal
    Someone had to ask. How is this technique going to maintain a person? Arent you essentially killing the person and reassembling their likeness in a remote location? How could an outsider tell the difference, the being that is transported would simply cease to exist while a copy lives the rest of their lives.
    • err... Can you name a sci-fi implementation of teleportation that doesn't destroy the "original"? There is one that I know of - just can't think of the frelling name.
      • Where Will Riker meets his former self. I believe season 7 or 6.
        In that episode, the "transport beam bounced off the atmosphere", leaving a copy behind.
         
        OMG, I just realised why I am still here and single...
      • Stargate?

        How about the Iconians [startrek.com] from ST:TNG? Or how about the method that the terrorists used in "The High Ground [startrek.com]"?

        Ok, that one was killing them with radiation poisoning. Maybe that's a bad example.

        Anyway, wormholes: good. Molecular deconstruction/reassembly: bad.
      • by Burdell (228580)
        You may be thinking of James Patrick Kelly's "Talk Like a Dinosaur", which was also made into an episode of the new "Outer Limits" (I can't remember if that was the story name or the episode name or both).

        IIRC there is an older story by an older well-known SF author that Kelly's was similar to, but I can't remember the details now.
        • I'm thinking of the older story. I can almost see the blasted cover art in my mind, but can't think of the title or author. The story starts with people being "teleported" to the stars. They remain on Earth though. A copy of them is made and sent out to the interstellar colony. The people then go about their life on Earth and, unbenkownst to the "original", as infinite-use slave labor on the interstellar colony.

          Every other reply has missed the point entirely.

          Teleporting with destroying the original is cloni
      • by Jerf (17166)
        I like old science fiction.

        There was a story about an extremely odd artifact found on the Moon that could only be explored by tele-copying somebody into it. It tended to kill you for doing all sorts of random things; for instance, writing the word "no" squished you instantly, and it was odd in various other ways. The author also postulated that the original, if kept in a sensory deprivation chamber, would briefly maintain contact, and thus the original could report on the experiences of the dead copy. Most
    • by Otter (3800)
      How is this technique going to maintain a person? Arent you essentially killing the person and reassembling their likeness in a remote location?

      As I understand it, this process starts with atoms at both locations and superimposes the quantum state of one onto the other. "Quantum faxing" would probably be a better metaphor than "teleportation".

    • Right... (Score:3, Insightful)

      by msimm (580077)
      Its about time to stop calling it teleportation because the implications are much stranger: do you really want to die and while being (hopefully!) reassembled elsewhere? If this is basically like fax or xerox how many copies of myself can I make? And of course the devilish old questions, if you reassemble something atomically does that mean there is no such thing as a soul, or did you atomize it on the other side (or is it in fact, physical)?
      • by DM9290 (797337)
        "And of course the devilish old questions, if you reassemble something atomically does that mean there is no such thing as a soul, or did you atomize it on the other side (or is it in fact, physical)?"

        The most obvious answer would be "it is physical".

        This hypothesis can be tested. If I hit you in the head with a very large hammer at a very high velocity will you lose your soul? answer : yes.

        This principle is widely accepted by society (in the realm of superstition and religion apparently consensus matters
    • Re:Ok I will do it (Score:5, Insightful)

      by MoogMan (442253) on Wednesday October 04, 2006 @06:14PM (#16312913)
      In theory, the atoms involved get replicated in a different location. Essentially, yes, the source atom gets destroyed, and the destination atom gets "created". But the destination atom is indistinguishable from the source, so who is to say that they are not the same atom? Technically, the atom does not get destroyed, but it's spin and other state[1] gets set to the state of the original atom.

      One question worth asking, is whether the relative position of the atoms are maintained through "teleportation". I would assume not. So at this stage, even if you did succeed in transporting a human, they would end up as a pool of water and carbon atoms I guess.

      This is more of a philosophical question, I think. Hypothetically speaking, you could see it as killing the person, and re-assembling their likeness. But "their likeness" would know no different, and he/she would feel and act like the real person. Equally, as you say, an outsider would know no different. Would you be willing to kill yourself, knowing that an exact replica of you is about to be re-created.

      It goes further, too. Does the soul exist as something other than the collection of atoms and particles that comprise us? If so, does this get left behind, or somehow carried across?

      [1] This is how I understand it, at least. Maybe someone could clarify, and explain if anything other than spin would get replicated.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by CODiNE (27417)
        Every time someone mentions the soul issue I quote some scriptures on it and get modded bigtime offtopic or flamebait. It's late but here's a few from memory.

        Numbers 6:6 literally states "do not touch a dead soul" ... some bible translations will use the phrase "dead body" or "corpse" to make it clear to our modern ears.

        Genesis 2:7 "the man became a living soul"

        Also Ge. 2:19 explains that as each animal or "living soul" would come to Adam he would name them. Ge. 1:20 the waters swarmed forth full of "liv
    • by vertinox (846076)
      Arent you essentially killing the person and reassembling their likeness in a remote location?

      Well if you believe in Quantum Immortality [wikipedia.org] then if the teloporation does kill your concioussness the teleporter will fail to work and if it doesn't then you are teleported along with your concioussness.

      Of course I don't know what happens if you are teleported into a brick wall...
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by kfg (145172) *
      How could an outsider tell the difference. . .

      They couldn't, because you are not the atoms "you" are made of. You are a collection of information in the state of the atoms.

      Which is a good thing for you, because most of the atoms you are made of today won't be the same atoms you'll be made of next week. That's why you die if you don't drink some water now and again; and maybe a bit of a nosh.

      KFG
    • Re:Ok I will do it (Score:5, Informative)

      by asuffield (111848) <asuffield@suffields.me.uk> on Wednesday October 04, 2006 @06:43PM (#16313355)
      Someone had to ask. How is this technique going to maintain a person?


      It isn't. Despite the regular press idiocy on this subject, quantum teleportation [wikipedia.org] has got absolutely nothing to do with Star Trek-style transporters. This is a form of communication link, teleporting information from one place to another at the speed of light. It cannot operate on people, rocks, or any other tangible object. We may someday invent a matter transporter, but it won't be using this technology and it certainly isn't what they're studying. To quote from the opening paragraph in the Wikipedia article, which is the very least any ignorant reporter should read before posting nonsense on the subject:

      Quantum teleportation does not transport energy or matter, nor does it allow communication of information at superluminal speed.

      This is about the next generation of technology that may someday replace optic fibre for long-distance communication links (and may also be useful in the construction of quantum computers, should we ever find a use for them). Nothing to do with Star Trek. If you ever catch a reporter confusing the two again, please hurt them. Badly.
    • This has nothing to do with "actual" teleportation.
      All it is transferring the quantum state of one atom (spin etc) to that of another. So you aren't moving particles, you aren't transferring information about the relative arrangement of particles, or even what types of particles you are made of. If there were already two exact physical copies of your body you *might* be able to use an advanced version of this to sync up the quantum state of each corresponding atom, but even that is unlikely.
  • by WillAffleckUW (858324) on Wednesday October 04, 2006 @05:57PM (#16312675) Homepage Journal
    1. Send DNA sequence for human/animal/etc from Star 1 to Star 2.
    2. Use DNA sequence to grow said creature.
    3. Install memory sequences, also sent as information.
    4. Wake person up.
    5. Keep original as slave in vast human slave army used to conquer the galaxy.
    6. PROFIT!
  • Distance?? (Score:2, Informative)

    by Bl4d3 (697638)
    This http://www.dr.dk/Nyheder/Indland/2006/10/04/195427 .htm [www.dr.dk] (danish) clams 50 meters instead of .5.
  • Or what it would entitle. What are the mechanics of the way it suppose to work. And what are the caveats, like can it be used like a replicators. Is there inherent data loss? It is a popular scientific token, thats been passed around for many years, I just wonder if it is now what we expect it to be. Like atoms that are transported are not exactly same atoms, ie electrons missing.

    I understand that through quantum entanglement you can have make exact copy, by imparting one of the two photons onto other matte
    • by zoftie (195518)
      From what I can ascertain, teleportation is of the *STATE* of energy or matter. If somehow it can be twisted, can be made a usefull scanning device, like tricoder, thats my guess. As you can see exact state of matter inside of a solid object.
  • I have a feeling this thread is going to have millions of hundreds of comments all making the same joke about the wording of the blurb.
  • The least they could do is make a corny teleportation pun, like, "In a sudden jump forward..." or something. Such a waste.
  • Enterprise, what we got back didn't live long... fortunately.
  • How far is this from teleportation?

    Suppose things were easy and we lived in a classical world. Then to teleport a particle from location A to B then all we'd have to do is send a message from A to B saying "there is particle of type X at position Y with momentum Z" and the person at the other end could go into a box, get one of the particles of type X out, and place it at a new position Y' (which is a suitable translate of Y) with momentum Z. Call this process 'C'.

    The above is relatively easy. Now think

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