When Captain Kirk wanted to get back to the USS Enterprise he would order “Beam me up, Scotty.”
This simple order dispatched through a flip top communicator would see him and his crew on a strange planet disappeared into a fuzz only to reappear instantly in the transporter room aboard the ship.
Now self confessed Trekkies from the University of Jena in Germany have used their love of Star Trek and their knowledge to prove teleportation is a reality. They showed how to beam information from one place to another immediately - without it disappearing.
Professor Dr Alexander Szameit said it was possible to teleport if not actual solid particles, at least their properties.
He said: “Many of the ideas from Star Trek that back then appeared to be revolutionary have become reality.
“Doors that open automatically, video telephony or flip phones - all things we have first seen on the starship USS Enterprise.”
And this includes teleporting, he argued.
Science fiction fan Prof Szameit added: “Elementary particles such as electrons and light particles exist per se in a spatially delocalised state.”
This means, for these particles, it is possible to be in different places at the same time.
He said “Within such a system spread across multiple locations, it is possible to transmit information from one location to another without any loss of time.”
The process is called quantum teleportation, and has been known about for several years.
But the team of scientists has demonstrated for the first time that the concept of teleportation does not just exist on the screen, but also in the real world.
Prof Szameit and his colleagues have written about their findings in the Laser & Photonics Reviews journal.
They used a special form of laser beams in the experiment.
Team member Dr Marco Ornigotti said:”As can be done with the physical states of elementary particles, the properties of light beams can also be entangled.”
For physicists, “entanglement” means a sort of codification.
Dr Ornigotti added: “You link the information you would like to transmit to a particular property of the light.”
In their particular case, the physicists put some data in a particular direction of the laser light, and transmitted this information to the shape of the laser beam using teleportation.
But Prof Szameit admitted it could not travel far.
He said: “With this form of teleportation, we can, however, not bridge any given distance.
“On the contrary, classic teleportation only works locally.”
But just like it did at the starship USS Enterprise or in quantum teleportation, the information is transmitted fully and instantly, without any loss of time.
And the scientists conclude this could help transform the way telecommunication is used.