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Frontiers of TechnologyIn the News
 
Map of New Record for Quantum Cryptography

Long-distance call:
Entangled photons were sent 144 kilometers from a light source on La Palma to a receiver on Tenerife (top) housed in a local observatory (bottom).
Credit: Institute for Experimental Physics, University of Vienna.
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New Record
for Quantum
Cryptography


European scientists have broken a distance record for sending quantum information from one place to another, paving the way for a system that relies on the laws of physics to provide communications that can't be tapped. If they can extend the reach of their signal a little further, they’ll be able to use satellites to send perfectly secure data around the world. The team used principles of quantum mechanics to create an encryption key in two locations simultaneously: one in a lab on La Palma, in the Canary Islands, and the second in an observatory on the neighboring island of Tenerife, 144 kilometers away. Such an encryption key can be used to encode data that only the sender and the receiver can decode.

“We want to see whether it is possible at all to establish worldwide quantum communication, worldwide quantum cryptography,” says Anton Zeilinger, a professor of physics at the Institute for Experimental Physics at the University of Vienna, Austria. To create the key, the team first had to create pairs of entangled photons. Entanglement, which Albert Einstein called “spooky action at a distance,” means that the fate of one photon is tied up with the fate of the other. Measuring any quantum mechanical property of one photon automatically changes that same property in its entangled partner, no matter the distance between them.

Nano storage

Nano Storage:
IBM researchers have studied the ability of an atom to maintain its magnetic orientation, a quality that can help determine that atom’s suitability for storing data.
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Nanotech breakthroughs point to tech’s future building blocks

IBM researchers announced they’ve made major strides in nanotechnology by studying how to build storage and other computing devices out of components no bigger than a few atoms or molecules. Researchers at the company’s Almaden Research Center in San Jose, Calif., report in Science that magnetic anisotropy could eventually be used to store information in individual atoms, paving the way to pack as much as 150 trillion bits of data per square inch, 1,000 times more than current data storage densities. In other words, the ability to store data in individual atoms could lead to devices capable of storing the equivalent of 30,000 movies in a device the size of an iPod.


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Physicists establish “spooky” quantum communication
that could lead to quantum internet

Physicists say they’ve coaxed atoms to communicate across open spaces, in a phenomenon Albert Einstein referred to as “spooky action at a distance.” The researchers call it a step toward a type of superfast computer known as a quantum computer and a “quantum internet.”

Quantum light beams good for fast technology

Australian and French scientists have made another breakthrough in the technology that will drive next generation quantum computers, quantum cryptography and quantum teleportation. The researchers have successfully superposed light beams, which produces a state that appears to be both on and off at once. The group has also proved a quantum physics theory known as Schrödinger's cat. This theory, named after an Austrian physicist Erwin Schrödinger, proposed that a large object such as a cat could be simultaneously alive and dead. A leader of the scientists, Dr. Jeong, said his group used special lasers, crystals, photon detectors, half-mirrors and other optical devices to generate and measure the superposition of light beams. “Using Schrödinger cat states, quantum teleportation may be performed with nearly 100 percent success probability.” Their latest breakthrough has been published in the journal NATURE.

Computing breakthrough could elevate security
to unprecedented levels

By using pulses of light to dramatically accelerate the development of quantum computers, University of Michigan researchers led by professor Duncan Steel have made leaps in technology that could foil security threats and lead to tougher protections of information and quick deciphering of hackers’ encryption codes. The researchers used short, coherent pulses of light to create light-matter interactions in quantum dots — particles so small that the addition or deletion of electrons changes their properties. They found they could control the frequency and phase shifts in the optical network, which is crucial in powering an optically driven quantum computer. Optically driven quantum computers can crack highly encrypted codes in seconds (the fastest of today’s desktop computers would require 20 years). Part of what makes quantum computers so fast is that they are multitask masters. “Quantum computers are capable of massive parallel computations,” Steel said. “That’s why these machines are so fast.” And the technology the researchers used to power them in this study is relatively cheap. We're particularly excited about our findings because they show that we can achieve these results by using quantum dots and readily available, relatively inexpensive optical telecommunications technology to drive quantum computers,” Steel said. Quantum dots replace transistors in these computers, and our results show that it only takes a few billionths of a watt to drive it.”


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Scientist hail quantum computing breakthrough
with entangled quantum bits

Scientists have come a step closer to developing a workable quantum computer by demonstrating that it is possible to carry out calculations with two quantum bits. Researchers at Delft University of Technology will report their breakthrough in this week’s issue of Nature. A quantum computer will be based on the properties of quantum physics. It hinges on the fact that a quantum bit, or qubit, exists in two states at the same time. The information from two qubits is entangled in a way that has no equivalent in the normal world. “Now for the first time a ‘controlled-NOT’ calculation with two qubits has been realised with the superconducting rings. This is important because it allows any given quantum calculation to be realised.

Physicist David DeutschThe Father of Quantum Computing

Wired News interviews the father of quantum computing, Oxford University theoretical physicist David Deutsch. Deutsch invented the idea of the quantum computer in the 1970s as a way to experimentally test the “Many Universes Theory” of quantum physics — the idea that when a particle changes, it changes into all possible forms, across multiple universes.


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Wireless energy delivery through resonance a success

A clean-cut vision of a future freed from electric wires and cables has come one step closer to reality. US researchers have successfully tested an experimental system to deliver power to devices without the need for wires. The setup, reported in the journal Science, made a 60W light bulb glow from a distance of 7 feet. WiTricity, as it is called, uses simple physics and could be adapted to charge a multitude of devices. The system exploits "resonance," a phenomenon that causes an object to vibrate when energy of a certain frequency is applied. When two objects have the same resonance they exchange energy strongly without having an effect on other surrounding objects.


Physics promises wireless power

Plugs and wires could soon become a thing of the past.

Quantum Theory of Transmission in Free Space Proved

The European Space Agency conducted an experiment to transmit photons over a distance of 144 Km in free space between Tenerife and La Palma in the Canary Islands, proving that Quantum Entanglement is a reality for free space communications over significant distances. Quantum computing works differently to classic computing, where in classic computing binary digits can take on the value of a 1 or 0. In quantum computing its equivalent, a qubit, can be a 1, 0, or both at the same time. This superposition of states is possible because of the ambiguity inherent in quantum mechanics. Once a quantum computer has more than one qubit it is possible to exploit quantum entanglement. Therefore, the importance of this seemingly academic experiment is enormous for the future of secure communications and quantum computing.


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NASA backs quantum computing claim

NASA confirmed that it built a special chip for Canadian startup D-Wave Systems used in a disputed demonstration of quantum computing in February. The chip achieves supercomputing speeds because its basic data units — called qubits — can hold both the values 0 and 1 simultaneously, and instantly share those values among all the qubits. It has been known for some time that once some simple features of quantum mechanics are harnessed, machines will be built capable of outperforming any conceivable conventional supercomputer. Quantum computers (QCs) have the potential to perform calculations billions of times faster than computers run by silicon-based processors. QCs are not just faster than conventional computers ... they change what computer scientists call the computational scaling of many problems.

World’s First Commercial Quantum Computer Demonstrated

The world’s first commercially viable quantum computer was unveiled and demonstrated today in Silicon Valley. Quantum computing offers the potential to create value in areas where problems or requirements exceed the capability of digital computing. This breakthrough in quantum technology represents a substantial step forward in solving commercial and scientific problems which, until now, were considered intractable. Quantum-computer technology can solve problems where the sheer volume of complex data and variables prevent the most powerful digital computers from achieving results in a reasonable amount of time. Such problems are associated with life sciences, biometrics, logistics, parametric database search and quantitative finance, among many other commercial and scientific areas. The machines have the potential to perform some calculations billions of times faster than computers run by silicon-based processors.

Dancing atoms hold prospect of superfast computing

Suspended in laser light, thousands of atoms pair up and dance, each moving in perfect counterpoint to its partner.They are the building blocks of what may one day become an enormously powerful quantum computer capable of solving in seconds problems that take today’s fastest machines years to crack, U.S. physicists said on Wednesday.


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Towards faster, more efficient quantum computers

Published in the latest edition of the journal Nature: “The one-way quantum computer exploits the counterintuitive features of quantum mechanics to the fullest,” comments Professor Anton Zeilinger of the University of Vienna, referring to the use of entanglement and the randomness of the quantum world. His team has developed a quantum computer in which the very act of observing the qubits (quantum bits) drives the calculation. In the experiment, the researchers created a so called entangled state, in which many qubits are connected to one another. “When you observe one, you change all the others as well. This means that if you change one the right way and another one the right way you drive the system towards the calculation. In other words, you change the future measurements by feeding forward the measurement results.” Using this system, Professor Zeilinger and his team managed to perform a calculation in record time — just 150 nanoseconds. Their findings have major implications for quantum computing.

[For more information visit the QAP Project.]

Breakthrough: Ultra-dense optical storage — in photons

Researchers at the University of Rochester have made an optics breakthrough that allows them to encode an entire image’s worth of data into photons, slow the image down for storage, and then retrieve the image intact.

[NOTE: A photon is defined as a quantum energy packet of electromagnetic radiation, generally regarded as a discrete particle having zero mass, no electric charge, and an indefinitely long lifetime.]

New Molecules Fastest Ever for Optical Technologies

The internet could soon shift into overdrive thanks to a new generation of organic optical molecules known as chromophores, that interact more strongly with light than any molecules ever tested. That makes them prime candidates for use in optical technologies such as optical switches, optical interconnects, optical memory systems, internet connections and three-dimensional hologram storage.

Quantum confinement ups optical-film efficiency

The ability to hyperpolarize the new material, enables its molecules to deform as they mediate the merger of two photons into one, opening the door to all-optical switches.

Distance no worries for spooky particles


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A Quantum (Computer) Step: Study Shows It’s
Feasible to Read Data Stored as Nuclear ’Spins’

In the new study, Boehme and colleagues used silicon doped with phosphorus atoms. By applying an external electrical current, they were able to “read” the net spin of 10,000 of the electrons and nuclei of phosphorus atoms near the surface of the silicon. Previous efforts, which used a technique called magnetic resonance, were able to read only the net spins of the electrons of 10 billion phosphorus atoms combined. Hence, their research represents a million-fold improvement and shows it is feasible to read single spins.

Computer scientists refine hologram technology,
usher in host of new applications

Intel works on “touchable holograms”

Lab boosts MRI’s resolution 10,000 fold via molecular imaging

A Quantum Leap in Data Encryption

Hybrid Quantum Cryptography Solution
 

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