Print 69 comment(s) - last by FDJustin.. on Mar 15 at 5:23 AM

A cavity containing a squeezed vacuum, developed at the California Institute of Tech in separate research. The University of Calgary and Tokyo Institute of Technology research uses a similar squeezed vaccum to store "less than nothing".  (Source: California Institute of Technology)
"Less than nothing" is the new zero

The world of quantum mechanics is filled with outlandish physical phenomena --  including everything from perpetual motion to teleportation.  Scientists have sought, in recent years, to exploit these phenomena to create the ultimate computing machine.  Such a computer, which would put even Intel or IBM's mightiest system to shame, holds the promise to solve certain types of very difficult, but very important problems. 

Scientists have made large advances including creating cables for quantum computers, developing quantum encryption techniques, and the development of the first commercial quantum computer by D-Wave, co-developed by NASA.  Much of the research into quantum computing involves using photons to store and convey information inside advanced computer systems.  However, light on an atomic scale behaves rather "spooky." 

On a silicon transistor scale, for the most part "on" or 1 means charged, and "off" or 0 means no charge.  On a quantum scale, on still means a charge, but "off" or absence of light still produces a lesser amount of atomic noise.  In other words, even if a photon is turned off, the quantum computer will still read a small amount of noise, disrupting measurements.

Scientists, after puzzling over this complex problem have come up with an outlandish solution -- creating a "squeezed vacuum" a space which has less than nothing, less noise than a space with no light.  Scientists managed to store and retrieve this "perfect dark" quantum zero.  The special vacuum is created by a laser beam directed through special crystals.  Squeezed vacuums have previously been created but not stored.  Typical uses are gravity wave detection. 

Teams of physicists at the University of Calgary and the Tokyo Institute of Technology independently demonstrated that a squeezed vacuum can be stored in a collection of rubidium atoms and retrieved when necessary.  The work appears in today's edition of the physics journal Physical Review Letters.  In it the researchers detail how they verified that the space remained squeezed when retrieved, compared to no light.

Alexander Lvovsky, professor in the Department of Physics and Astronomy, Canada Research Chair and leader of the University of Calgary's Quantum Information Technology research group, stated, "Memory for light has been a big challenge in physics for many years and I am very pleased we have been able to bring it one step further.  It is important not only for quantum computers, but may also provide new ways to make unbreakable codes for transmitting sensitive information."

The team's research followed Harvard-Smithsonian scientists' 2001 work that slowed light to a stop and physicist Alexander Kuzmich of the Georgia Institute of Technology's work, which led to a successful 2006 effort to store and retrieve a photon.  Kuzmich was enthusiastic about the new developments and said that the ability to squeeze space closer to an absolute zero in terms of noise promises to significantly aid in the development of quantum networks.  He marveled at the work and said of the progress, "It's a real technical achievement."

Lvovsky’s team next hopes to develop storage methods for more complex forms of light, such as entangled light, which can lead to exotic new uses and improvements in quantum computing.  

Comments     Threshold

This article is over a month old, voting and posting comments is disabled

RE: whooooosh
By KristopherKubicki on 3/7/2008 10:40:06 PM , Rating: 2
One more stepping stone on the way to quantum entanglement, quantum teleportation, quantum logic gates ...

The fact that scientists can store and retrieve "nothing" means we've successfully found a way to create a binary computer on the sub atomic scale.

The smallest practical size we can store a one and a zero is a few nanometers via exotic memory structures. The smallest experimental size we could store binary one and zero are a few atoms. With this, we're talking about storing binary one and zero on sub atomic scales.

Interestingly, this sort of debunks Rudy Rucker's thoughts on singularity: that we could not simulate "virtual" reality because it takes many atoms to simulate reality as it would to replicate it. Not true when we can store information on the sub atomic scale.

Neat times we live in :) Be proud that you'll be able to one day say you saw it unfold

RE: whooooosh
By SuckRaven on 3/7/2008 11:39:07 PM , Rating: 2
"Scientists managed to store and retrieve this "perfect dark" quantum zero."

No they didn't. =) Developer RARE and publisher Microsoft Game Studios were all over it back in 2005 when they released Perfect Dark Zero for the XBOX360. =)

Who knew MS could make less than nothing???


Seriously though...great article. My brother is getting his PhD. in high energy physics, so he's always filling my head with this futuristic mumbo jumbo.
Scientists managed to store and retrieve this "perfect dark" quantum zero.

RE: whooooosh
By billybob24 on 3/8/2008 6:45:27 AM , Rating: 2
Kristopher, it's nice to be optimistic but this isn't going to happen.

You know every few weeks, for the last two decades or so I've been an adult, there's an article in the paper that claims researchers have all but cured cancer. Yet Patrick Swayze's still gonna die.

It's kinda the same thing with quantum computing, you can bury me in articles saying it's just around the corner, buit I've been reading those for the last decade. It's kinda put up or shut up time now.

Honestly I dont think quantum computers are possible. And I even have my doubts whether quantum physics is a reality. That's just my opinion. My opinion could be proved wrong (maybe) by a true quantum computer becoming reality. But since that never seems to happen, I kinda suspect I'm right.

RE: whooooosh
By AnnihilatorX on 3/8/2008 8:26:55 AM , Rating: 2
There are working quantum computers already. It's just that they are of only a few qubit stage which doesn't do much useful right now.

It's like the early conventional computers which has only a few transistors.

RE: whooooosh
By KristopherKubicki on 3/8/2008 10:59:13 AM , Rating: 2
As posted by others, we already have quantum computers -- they're just only capable of 16 qubits or less.

Quantum mechanics is not a believe or disbelieve thing, though Einstein himself believed the odd things that occur on the subatomic could be explained away with classical physics. Of course, if those odd things didn't occur, we wouldn't have a lot of neat stuff like the laser.

But whether you want to say that quantum mechanics doesn't make sense, or that it's not possible, the effects are still measurable and exploitable. And this has been demonstrated with people who've designed rudimentary quantum computers -- D-Wave.

RE: whooooosh
By jtemplin on 3/8/2008 3:41:23 PM , Rating: 1
Kris...his name is billy bob...

Don't believe what you can't see or feel eh? Peace out religion!

RE: whooooosh
By dluther on 3/8/2008 11:58:50 AM , Rating: 2
Interestingly, this sort of debunks Rudy Rucker's thoughts on singularity: that we could not simulate "virtual" reality because it takes many atoms to simulate reality as it would to replicate it. Not true when we can store information on the sub atomic scale.

And with quantum compression...

"We’re Apple. We don’t wear suits. We don’t even own suits." -- Apple CEO Steve Jobs

Most Popular ArticlesAre you ready for this ? HyperDrive Aircraft
September 24, 2016, 9:29 AM
Leaked – Samsung S8 is a Dream and a Dream 2
September 25, 2016, 8:00 AM
Yahoo Hacked - Change Your Passwords and Security Info ASAP!
September 23, 2016, 5:45 AM
A is for Apples
September 23, 2016, 5:32 AM
Walmart may get "Robot Shopping Carts?"
September 17, 2016, 6:01 AM

Copyright 2016 DailyTech LLC. - RSS Feed | Advertise | About Us | Ethics | FAQ | Terms, Conditions & Privacy Information | Kristopher Kubicki