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One piece closer to a working electronic quantum computer puzzle kit.

Many believe the next generation of supercomputers will be powered by quantum mechanics. Harnessing the strange properties of photons and electrons in special states is often the backbone for quantum computer research. Some of these seemingly exotic properties have already been demonstrated using photons, but until very recently, were not replicated in solid-state systems by electrons.

A group of European researchers, consisting of institutions from France, Spain and Germany, has published their work with quantum entanglement using electron (Cooper) pairs, quantum dots and carbon nanotubes. Quantum entanglement is a quantum state of matter where two particles, typically photons or electrons, form a matched pair based on their physical qualities such as up or down spin for electrons and polarization for photons. When a pair of these particles becomes entangled, quantum mechanics states that measuring one of the pair will instantly force the unmeasured into a corresponding state, regardless of the distance they have been separated by.

In photonics work, researchers used wave guides and polarization filters to form entangled photons, which can then be separated by a beam splitter and measured individually. But for electrons, the work is far more taxing. Measurements are more easily skewed by background noise and leakage from the components of the test device.

The solid-state device used to confirm electron quantum entanglement is fairly simple in design. A superconducting element is used to form Cooper pairs. The pairs then move down the element towards a carbon nanotube. Occasionally the pair is split by the nanotube and each electron moves towards a separate quantum dot. In this time, one electron’s spin can be measured, which infers the spin of its mate instantaneously. These pairs can either be spin-correlated or anti-spin-correlated (spinning in the same direction or opposite directions), but the measurement of one always reveals the properties of the other.

Quantum entanglement could be very useful in theory, especially for quantum computing in the areas of security and data transmission. Theoretically, data can be transferred over any distance instantly and without any risk of security breech, however, the entangled pair still has to be transferred through physical media at this time.

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By GourdFreeMan on 1/13/2010 12:30:29 PM , Rating: 2
No, in his analogy if you force your box to change its letter (state) it is no longer entangled with the other box. Free energy in the environment will eventually break entanglement as well (unless you exist in a perfect vacuum at absolute zero with no other particles that can influence your entangled pair). Notice how they are having difficulty keeping the electrons entangled in the article? Its easier to keep photons entangled because they don't interact with EM fields or other photons (as far as we know from existing experiments).

By GourdFreeMan on 1/13/2010 12:34:03 PM , Rating: 2
Grammarians note: replace "its" with "it's" in my post.

RE: Does this means instant communication is possible?
By rs1 on 1/14/2010 4:02:35 AM , Rating: 2
Are you sure about that? I thought entanglement implied a stronger relationship between the particles than just "their state is the same until something modifies one of them". If it does use the weaker definition, then I don't see why the concept is considered so important, as it can't possibly be that hard to generate two particles in the same initial state, and then they could be said to be "entangled" until someone modified the state of one or the other. Hell, I could perform entanglement on the macroscopic scale under that definition by just placing two different baseballs on the table. They would be "entangled" until I moved one of them to somewhere else.

As I've understood it, entanglement implies that the state of the particles is not only synchronous, but that it will also automatically be maintained as such when modifications are made to one particle or the other. If that isn't the case, then what is so special about entanglement anyways?

By AnnihilatorX on 1/14/2010 9:54:14 AM , Rating: 2
It can be easily think of in layman ways by anyone as follows:

Imagine a pair of photons generated by positron-electron annihilation, the pair of photons will fly in opposite direction with exact opposite spin property (up on photon 1 and down on photon 2). Of course you don't know which way photon 1 is pointing before you measure it, and any arbitary direction can be an 'up'. So you have to determine the spin and vector of photon 1 by observing it. When you observed the spin of photon 1, knowing that it is say spining up, you immediately know photon 2 must be spinning the opposite vector (down). That's basically entanglement. Photon 1 and 2 are entangled because of their anti-spin correlation.

Quote from Wikipedia:
Measuring one member of the pair therefore tells you what spin the other member would have if it were also measured. The distance between the two particles is irrelevant.

This does not allow any information to be transmitted, as the properties exists in advance.

Quote from Wikipedia:
If each particle departs the scene of its "entangled creation" with properties that would unambiguously determine the value of the quality to be subsequently measured, then the postulated instantaneous transmission of information across space and time would not be required to account for the result of both particles having the same value for that quality.

"There is a single light of science, and to brighten it anywhere is to brighten it everywhere." -- Isaac Asimov

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