Quantum teleportation is a reasonably well-defined physical process, whereby a quantum state is transferred between two separated entities that already share an entangled state. It's been demonstrated experimentally, and applications have been dreamed up. My question is: does this phenomenon occur "naturally" at all? Or is it in the category of things that, to the best of our knowledge, have only ever happened as a result of human ingenuity?

(I leave open the question of how exact the state transfer should be. Examples where teleportation explains something interesting about a system's behaviour would be ideal.)

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    $\begingroup$ Quantum teleportation transmits quantum information (qubit) by means of physically transmitting classical information (two bits). Do you know "natural" phenomena that transmits quantum information, by teleportation or otherwise? I am not aware of; it does not mean that such natural phenomena will not be discovered in future. $\endgroup$
    – kludg
    Dec 20, 2019 at 14:46
  • $\begingroup$ No, I don't know of any such phenomena. For avoidance of doubt, by "state" I mean at least one qubit of information, and I don't mind what form the physical transmission takes. $\endgroup$ Dec 20, 2019 at 16:10
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    $\begingroup$ +1 for being thought-provoking. Famously certain aspects of photosynthesis have been discussed as a kind of natural Grover process. However, actually sending classical information and taking an action in response to the classical information, as in teleportation, may set a high bar for being a natural phenomenon. $\endgroup$ Dec 21, 2019 at 0:22
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    $\begingroup$ You might find this interesting. There was also a related Quanta article. $\endgroup$ Dec 21, 2019 at 4:03

1 Answer 1


Quantum teleportation has been suggested to be possible to occur in photosynthetic reaction centers. https://doi.org/10.1007/BF03166259

And it could in principle be occuring all the time through photochemistry in biology. Though to no real purpose, however, a related purposeful effect is the avian compass which(is hypothesized) to operate through quantum effects.

And more recently teleportation was demonstrated in a small molecule photosynthetic mimic. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41557-019-0332-8

Sorry if there are paywalls.

  • $\begingroup$ Last I checked, that statement about it's relevance in photosynthesis was still very much up debated. So take that first paper sparingly. Photosystems are pretty complicated, so lots of room for decoherence. $\endgroup$
    – AHusain
    Dec 24, 2019 at 22:13
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    $\begingroup$ I never meant to suggest that quantum teleportation was relevant to photosynthesis, only that the mechanism through which the reaction centers operate could teleport a spin coherence across the protein(which doesn't accomplish anything operative). In reaction centers, charge separation(which is essentially an entanglement swapping mechanism) occurs sub nanosecond, and spin coherences in them can last hundreds of nanoseconds. That second paper demonstrated in a model system that a chemical reaction step can indeed teleport a spin coherence. $\endgroup$
    – user245427
    Dec 25, 2019 at 2:31

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