Quantum entanglement, the spooky action at a distance that promises to be so useful for things like high-powered computing and security, is generally considered a function of the tiny world. It’s easy — OK, not easy, but relatively practical nowadays — to take two particles or two microscopic things and intertwine their fates. Now for the first time, scientists have accomplished quantum entanglement on the macro scale, entangling two millimeter-sized diamonds.
It’s common empirical knowledge that computing generates heat--go ahead, touch the bottom of your MacBook--but a new paper in the journal Nature claims that it doesn’t have to. In fact, under the right conditions, theoretical physicists say that deleting data can actually produce negative heat--that is, it can have a cooling effect. That’s right, this is a quantum mechanics post. Exit now if you don’t want a headache to start the weekend.
Like a long-distance romance, quantum entanglement is a fragile interaction; one moment, two particles can be sharing that special bond in which they are essentially one and the same, even when separated by vast distances. Then, just like that, the link can be broken. So the fact that Chinese researchers have set a new record by entangling eight photons at the same time--and then manipulating and observing them--is nothing short of amazing.
The very notion of quantum computing is a bit mind numbing, and the technology is so nascent that researchers aren’t even really sure of the best way to go about constructing a quantum computer. Nonetheless, D-Wave Systems Inc. has just sold one of its eponymous D-Wave One quantum computing systems to none other than Lockheed Martin, along with a multi-year contract to keep the thing working.
Over five years ago, scientists succeeded in teleporting information. Unfortunately, the advance failed to bring us any closer to the Star Trek future we all dream of. Now, researchers in Japan have used the same principles to prove that energy can be teleported in the same fashion as information. Rather than just hastening the dawn of quantum computing, this development could lead to practical, significant changes in energy distribution.
Five amazing, clean technologies that will set us free, in this month's energy-focused issue. Also: how to build a better bomb detector, the robotic toys that are raising your children, a human catapult, the world's smallest arcade, and much more.