|10-06-2006, 11:40 AM||#1|
Join Date: Apr 2001
Quantum uses of light
At long last researchers have teleported the information stored in a beam of light into a cloud of atoms, which is about as close to getting beamed up by Scotty as we're likely to come in the foreseeable future. More practically, the demonstration is key to eventually harnessing quantum effects for hyperpowerful computing or ultrasecure encryption systems.
THEY say many hands make light work. In quantum physics it's known as "entanglement". If the tiniest particles of light, photons, are entangled, they seem to communicate faster than Einstein believed possible.
On the macro scale it doesn't work like that. But a good team can still be greater than the sum of its parts.
At the University of Queensland, American physicist Devon Biggerstaff, 22, is working on the mysteries of entanglement. He is the newest member of a team seeking to make light work in a way that would revolutionise computing and communications.
"The quantum properties of small particles can carry information, probably even do computing," Mr Biggerstaff says. "Entangled particles interact: even when separated they have strong correlating properties that would be impossible for the macro world, communicating faster than light speed."
At the moment these entangled photons are created using crystals and a continuous laser beam. But Mr Biggerstaff hopes to use new man-made crystals and short, high-energy pulses from a laser beam, which could act as a clock signal for an optical quantum computer.