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Is it physically possible to have one device, that will scan one object atom by atom and record it to some computer file and then send it to some other machine that could use this blueprint to rebuild that object? What are limitations of this?

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marked as duplicate by John Rennie, Dilaton, BebopButUnsteady, centralcharge, Brandon Enright Feb 16 '14 at 7:50

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possible duplicate of Quantum teleportation - the alternative to destroying atoms – John Rennie Feb 15 '14 at 20:32
up vote 3 down vote accepted

There are roughly $10^{28}$ particles in the human body. If we assume that each particle can be described by a single double-precision number, then it would take $$ 10^{28}{\rm atoms}\cdot\frac{{\rm numbers}}{{\rm atoms}}\cdot\frac{8{\rm bytes}}{{\rm numbers}}\simeq10^{29}\,{\rm bytes}\sim10^{17}{\rm terabytes} $$ Which is way more memory than what is thought to be made in the world currently. So there's one limitation.

I know some space based observatories can handle the rejection/acceptance of particles at about a million per second. If we assume we can do a few orders of magnitude better in determining particles with some non-existent earth-based scanning device (another limitation), then $$ t_{scan}=\frac{10^{28}\,{\rm particles}}{10^{12}{\rm particles/sec}}=10^{16}\,{\rm sec}\lesssim t_{age\,of\,universe}=4\times10^{17}{\rm sec} $$ So there's your third limitation.

There'd likely be a time limitation with rebuilding the stored information similar to the one above, but I'm not sure any type of numerics on it.

Seems that we're really far away from being able to do this, if it could ever be done (which I'm still doubtful of).

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For first restriction: you dont have to save all particles. If you know borders, where different materials are touching, you could rebuild the rest on that recieving computer. – user2486570 Feb 16 '14 at 23:18
@user2486570: I interpreted the statement that will scan one object atom by atom and record it to some computer file to mean "I need to know all the information about each particle within it to copy it identically." If you want a general shape/structure then sure you could skip knowing the atom-by-atom information (which can't actually be quantified by a single number). – Kyle Kanos Feb 17 '14 at 1:54
But forces between atoms are everywhere same, so you should be able to deduce position, rotation,... of all the atoms between. – user2486570 Feb 17 '14 at 22:28

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