CBS News Logo Quantum entanglement gets extra twist

Quantum physics is the science of the very small. But physicists are making it bigger, setting records for the size and energies of objects they can get to exhibit quantum effects. Now physicists at the University of Vienna in Austria have "virtually intertwined" or entangled two particles spinning faster than ever in opposite directions. Entanglement occurs when two particles remain connected so that actions performed on one affect the other, despite the distance between them. (Einstein referred to this eerie connection as "spooky action at a distance.") In the new study, Anton Fickler and his colleagues entangled two photons that had a high orbital angular momentum, a property that measures the twisting of a wave of light. In quantum physics, particles such as photons can behave as particles and waves. "It's a stepping stone on the development of new technologies," said Anton Zeilinger, director of the Institute for Quantum Optics and Quantum Information and a co-author of the study, which is detailed in the Nov. 5 issue of the journal Science.   Such entanglement experiments have been carried out for decades. In this case, though, the researchers did something a bit different. They created entangled photons and gave them lots of angular momentum, more than in any experiment before. Usually the energy contained in a photon is very small: its quantum number is low. At higher energies, this changes. Quantum physics and "normal" or classical physics start to look similar when quantum numbers get high; this is called the correspondence principle, and it applies to many areas of physics. To create entangled photons, Fickler and his team sent a laser through a beam splitter, dividing the laser beam into two. Two photons were sent down separate optical fibers and their waves were twisted, and twisted, and twisted some more, ramping up their angular momentum — imagine a wave shaped like a spiral, spinning faster and faster. [Twisted Physics: 7 Continue Reading

New Light Form Proves 3 Photons Can Interact, Could Help Quantum Computing

Photons, the constituent particles of light, normally have no mass and don’t interact with each other, passing each other by when put in each other’s paths. But an experiment by a team of scientists from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and Harvard University has shown that photons can bind together in twos or threes, proof of interaction between them. Led by Vladan Vuletic from MIT and Mikhail Lukin from Harvard, the researchers conducted experiments with lasers and ultracold rubidium atoms. A weak laser beam was shone through a dense cloud of the ultracold atoms, and what emerged from the other side were photons bound in pairs or triplets — a completely new form of photonic matter. This interaction between photos was attraction, and the bound photons were also found to have acquired some mass (just a fraction of an electron’s mass). This new-found mass literally weighed down the photons, slowing them down from their usual speeds of 300,000 kilometers per second (the same as the speed of light) by about 100,000 times. “The interaction of individual photons has been a very long dream for decades,” Vuletic said in a statement Thursday, explaining that the attraction — or entanglement — of photons could herald a significant development for the future of quantum computing. “Photons can travel very fast over long distances, and people have been using light to transmit information, such as in optical fibers. If photons can influence one another, then if you can entangle these photons, and we’ve done that, you can use them to distribute quantum information in an interesting and useful way,” Vuletic said. Laser beam in a quantum entanglement experiment. Photo: Getty images Vuletic and Lukin have previously conducted experiments in which they observed photons binding in pairs, and the new experiments were designed to see if they could get more than two photons to interact at the same Continue Reading

Quantum Computing: Graphene-Based Device Theoretically Proves Existence Of Non-Abelian Anyons

Researchers from University of California, Santa Barbara, have developed a device that could prove the existence of non-Abelian anyons. These 2-dimensional quantum particles were theorized and mathematically predicted to exist but have not been synthesized till now. A study published in the journal Nature has taken the first steps toward finding conclusive evidence of the existence of non-Abelian anyons. The researchers used graphene, an atomically thin material derived from graphite, to develop “an extremely low-defect, highly tunable device in which non-Abelian anyons should be much more accessible,” said a news release published on the university website. These anyons are a type of quasiparticle that occur only in two-dimensional systems, with properties much less restricted than those of fermions and bosons. Here, when the system undergoes degeneration by exchanging two identical particles, there will be a change in state but the particles themselves will retain the same configuration. Anyons are generally classified as abelian or non-Abelian. Abelian anyons have been detected and play a major role in the fractional quantum Hall effect. Non-Abelian anyons have not been definitively detected, although this is an active area of research. In a 3D world, elementary particles can either be fermions or bosons. "The difference between these two types of 'quantum statistics' is fundamental to how matter behaves," physicist Andrea Young, author of the study said. Several fermions cannot remain in the same quantum state. This allows us to push electrons (fermion) around in semiconductors given its unique properties and also helps prevent neutron stars from collapsing, Young added. But bosons can occupy the same state and this property gives rise to pre-existing principles in physics known as the Bose-Einstein condensation and superconductivity. According to the team, if a few fermions (protons, neutrons and electrons in atoms) are Continue Reading

Australia researchers say find new way to build quantum computers

By Jeremy Wagstaff SINGAPORE (Reuters) - Researchers in Australia have found a new way to build quantum computers which they say would make them dramatically easier and cheaper to produce at scale.  Quantum computers promise to harness the strange ability of subatomic particles to exist in more than one state at a time to solve problems that are too complex or time-consuming for existing computers. Google, IBM and other technology companies are all developing quantum computers, using a range of approaches.  The team from the University of New South Wales say they have invented a new chip design based on a new type of quantum bit, the basic unit of information in a quantum computer, known as a qubit. The new design would allow for a silicon quantum processor to overcome two limitations of existing designs: the need for atoms to be placed precisely, and allowing them to be placed further apart and still be coupled.  Crucially, says project leader Andrea Mello, this so-called "flip-flop qubit" means the chips can be produced using the same device technology as existing computer chips. "This makes the building of a quantum computer much more feasible, since it is based on the same manufacturing technology as today's computer industry," Mello said. That would allow chips for quantum computers to be mass-manufactured, a goal that has so far eluded other researchers. IBM's quantum computer in the United States has 16 qubits, meaning it can only perform basic calculations. Google's computer has nine qubits.   A desktop computer runs at gigaflops. The world’s fastest supercomputer, China’s Sunway TaihuLight, runs at 93 petaflops, but relies on 10 million processing cores and uses massive amounts of energy.In theory, even a small 30-qubit universal quantum computer could run at the equivalent of a classic computer operating at 10 teraflops.          The researchers' paper will Continue Reading

Chinese quantum satellite sends ‘unbreakable’ code

BEIJING (Reuters) - China has sent an "unbreakable" code from a satellite to the Earth, marking the first time space-to-ground quantum key distribution technology has been realized, state media said on Thursday. China launched the world's first quantum satellite last August, to help establish "hack proof" communications, a development the Pentagon has called a "notable advance". The official Xinhua news agency said the latest experiment was published in the journal Nature on Thursday, where reviewers called it a "milestone". The satellite sent quantum keys to ground stations in China between 645 km (400 miles) and 1,200 km (745 miles) away at a transmission rate up to 20 orders of magnitude more efficient than an optical fiber, Xinhua cited Pan Jianwei, lead scientist on the experiment from the state-run Chinese Academy of Sciences, as saying. "That, for instance, can meet the demand of making an absolute safe phone call or transmitting a large amount of bank data," Pan said. Any attempt to eavesdrop on the quantum channel would introduce detectable disturbances to the system, Pan said. "Once intercepted or measured, the quantum state of the key will change, and the information being intercepted will self-destruct," Xinhua said. The news agency said there were "enormous prospects" for applying this new generation of communications in defense and finance. China still lags behind the United States and Russia in space technology, although President Xi Jinping has prioritized advancing its space program, citing national security and defense. China insists its space program is for peaceful purposes, but the U.S. Defense Department has highlighted its increasing space capabilities, saying it was pursuing activities aimed at preventing adversaries from using space-based assets in a crisis. (Reporting by Michael Martina; Editing by Michael Perry) (c) Copyright Thomson Reuters 2017. Click For Restrictions Continue Reading

NSA attempting to build quantum computer that could hack all encrypted data: report

The NSA has spent nearly $80 million trying to build a quantum supercomputer that could crack virtually all types of data encryption, according to new documents leaked by Edward Snowden. The Washington Post reports that the secretive agency could use the computer exponentially more powerful than standard computers to hack “banking, medical and government records around the world.” The government has named the $79.7 million top secret project taking place in a lab in College Park, Md. “Penetrating Hard Targets.” So far, the government appears to be no further than scientists attempting to build the megacomputer in public. The computers could in theory lead to rapid advancements in the development of artificial intelligence. Google announced in May of last year it had opened a Quantum Artificial Intelligence Lab in partnership with NASA. One expert told The Washington Post that the type of quantum computer capable of cracking the toughest data encryption likely won’t be developed within the next five years. A quantum computer uses quantum bits or qubits, to perform calculations, as opposed to a standard computer that uses binary bits — either 0 or 1. Qubits can exist simultaneously as zero and one, making calculations occur exponentially faster. By nature the qubits are highly unstable, and most be isolated from their environment — a particularly vexing challenge for scientists. The latest revelation regarding the NSA’s goal of gaining access to virtually all digitized information comes a week after Snowden declared from Russia his mission “already accomplished.” The Obama administration has shot down any possibility of offering Snowden clemency or a plea deal. Instead, they say Snowden should return to the U.S. and face trial for charges of espionage and theft. On Wednesday Snowden’s cause received a boost from the editorial board of two newspapers. “ It is time Continue Reading

Tesla mystery news may be quantum Autopilot leap

SAN FRANCISCO – On Wednesday, Elon Musk is promising a surprise announcement about Tesla.The reveal will be “unexpected by most,” Musk tweeted last week.Anyone familiar with the electric automaker and its CEO’s cryptic ways will know that this passes for specificity in Teslaworld.In the past, such teasing talk preceded upgrades such as a new "Ludicrous" mode for electric-car speed freaks or a software upgrade for music aficionados. So, what could Musk be rolling out this time?Conversations with industry watchers and analysts put good odds on it being related to self-driving technology, specifically so-called Tesla Vision, which leverages computing power to help a vehicle navigate its surroundings based on inputs from cameras and radar.Tesla Vision news would help steer the company away from the questions surrounding its original Autopilot self-driving system, which federal regulators continue to investigate in relationship to a number of Tesla crashes worldwide.Musk recently announced an upgrade to Autopilot, but he has hinted at a coming quantum leap.On a call with investors earlier this summer, Musk said the next generation of Tesla autonomy “will blow people’s minds; it blows my mind (and) it’ll come sooner than people think.”Quite the promise considering the growing number of automotive and technology companies feverishly working on autonomous driving, including Google, Uber, Volvo, Ford, Audi and Mercedes-Benz, to name a few.But Musk is a master “of creating hype, and often delivering on it,” says Frederic Lambert, managing editor of electric car news site Electrek, which recently conducted a reader poll asking for guesses about Monday’s news.Some 40% of respondents said they were expecting an Autopilot update, while 18% said Tesla Glass (a project allegedly focused on information-projection technology), 16% said Model Y (the company’s rumored cross-over sedan), and 15% said Continue Reading

Nobel Prize goes to French-American duo for quantum physics

STOCKHOLM — A French-American duo shared the 2012 Nobel Prize in physics Tuesday for inventing methods to observe the bizarre properties of the quantum world, research that has led to the construction of extremely precise clocks and helped scientists take the first steps toward building superfast computers. Serge Haroche of France and American David Wineland opened the door to new experiments in quantum physics by showing how to observe individual quantum particles while preserving their quantum properties. A quantum particle is one that is isolated from everything else. In this situation, an atom or electron or photon takes on strange properties. It can be in two places at once, for example. It behaves in some ways like a wave. But these properties are instantly changed when it interacts with something else, such as when somebody observes it. Working separately, the two scientists, both 68, developed "ingenious laboratory methods" that allowed them to manage and measure and control fragile quantum states, the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences said. "Their ground-breaking methods have enabled this field of research to take the very first steps towards building a new type of superfast computer based on quantum physics," the academy said. "The research has also led to the construction of extremely precise clocks that could become the future basis for a new standard of time." Christophe Lebedinsky/AP This 2009 photo shows French physician Serge Haroche, right, and his aide Igor Dotsenko in Paris. Haroche is a professor at the College de France and Ecole Normale Superieure in Paris. Wineland is a physicist at the National Institute of Standards and Technology, or NIST, and the University of Colorado in Boulder, Colorado. The two researchers use opposite approaches to examine, control and count quantum particles, the academy said. Wineland traps ions — electrically charged atoms — and measures them with light, while Continue Reading

New cruise ships for 2014: Quantum of the Seas

Five cruise lines that market to North Americans are rolling out new ocean-going ships this year. Here, USA TODAY profiles one of the new offerings: Royal Caribbean's Quantum of the Seas. For information on the year's other new vessels, click HERE to return to the main page of USA TODAY's Guide to the New Cruise Ships of 2014.. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . QUANTUM OF THE SEASLine: Royal CaribbeanMaiden voyage: Nov. 2Home port: Bayonne, N.J.Size (in tons): 167,800Passengers: 4,180The buzz: Royal Caribbean is back with yet another massive mega-resort at sea, its first since the 2010 debut of the record-size Allure of the Seas.By far the most anticipated new ship of the year, Quantum of the Seas will boast such innovative new features as the first skydiving simulator at sea and a glass capsule on a mechanical arm that will rise high above the ship for bird's-eye views. Also new will be Two70, an unusual, multilevel entertainment space with floor-to-ceiling windows that will feature live aerial performances as well as digital performances projected on moving screens.The first of a new class of vessel at Royal Caribbean, Quantum of the Seas won't be quite as big as Allure and its sister, Oasis of the Seas — the world's largest cruise ships. But it still will rank among the 10 largest passenger vessels in the world and feature all of the signature amenities Royal Caribbean fans have come to love, from a 30-foot-high rock climbing wall to a FlowRider surf simulator to an H20 Zone kids water park. Look inside Oasis of the Seas.Itineraries: Seven- and eight-night Bahamas sailings starting at $1,609 per person; eight- to 11-night Eastern Caribbean sailings starting at $1,089; 11- and 12-night Southern Caribbean sailings starting at $1,659Information: 866-562-7625; More on Quantum of the Seas Next Royal Caribbean ship to feature gee-whiz ride Quantum is most anticipated new ship of year Royal Caribbean unveils Quantum itineraries New Continue Reading

New Yorkers soon to get emergency cell phone alerts in what Bloomberg calls ‘quantum leap forward’

Emergency officials will soon be able to blast critical alerts to anyone with a cell phone in a certain section of the city.If Times Square needs to be evacuated because of a bomb threat or if a hurricane is bearing down on Queens, warnings will be bounced from cell towers."Making sure that [people] get useful and life-saving information, quickly and easily, right on their mobile phones, will help more people get out of harm's way when a threat exists," said Federal Emergency Management Agency Administrator W. Craig Fugate.The system - called PLAN or Personal Localized Alerting Network - uses cell phone towers to send messages to everyone currently in a certain area, regardless of whether they're visiting from out of town or have a phone registered elsewhere. People won't have to register in advance to receive the alerts.The messages, including urgent blasts from the President, information on imminent threats and Amber Alerts about missing children, will supercede all other phone traffic so they won't be stalled or delayed.FEMA's Fugate and Federal Communications Commissioner Chair Julius Genachowski plan to announce the new system at the World Trade Center site Tuesday in a press conference with Mayor Bloomberg and top phone company execs.They system is expected to be up and running in New York and Washington by the end of the year - months before the rest of the country.Mayor Bloomberg called the alerts a "quantum leap forward in using technology to help keep people safe." Join the Conversation: Continue Reading