Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Breakthrough In Quantum Control Of Light: Implications For Banking, Drug Design, And More

Date:
May 31, 2009
Source:
University of California - Santa Barbara
Summary:
Researchers have recently demonstrated a breakthrough in the quantum control of photons, the energy quanta of light. This is a significant result in quantum computation, and could eventually have implications in banking, drug design, and other applications.

This image represents a quantum state with zero, three and six photons simultaneously. The theory is on left and the experiment is on the right.
Credit: UCSB

Researchers at UC Santa Barbara have recently demonstrated a breakthrough in the quantum control of photons, the energy quanta of light. This is a significant result in quantum computation, and could eventually have implications in banking, drug design, and other applications.

Related Articles


In a paper published in the journal Nature, UCSB physics researchers Max Hofheinz, John Martinis, and Andrew Cleland document how they used a superconducting electronic circuit known as a Josephson phase qubit to prepare highly unusual quantum states using microwave-frequency photons. The breakthrough is the result of four years of work in the laboratories of Cleland and Martinis.

The project is funded by the federal agency called the Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity, or IARPA. The government is particularly interested in quantum computing because of the way banking and other important communications are currently encrypted. Using large numbers, with hundreds of digits, encryption codes are changed daily and would take years of traditional computing to break. Quantum computing could potentially break those codes quickly, destroying current encryption schemes.

In the experiments, the photons were stored in a microwave cavity, a "light trap" in which the light bounces back and forth as if between two mirrors. In earlier work, these researchers showed they could create and store photons, one at a time, with up to 15 photons stored at one time in the light trap. The research shows that they can create states in which the light trap simultaneously has different numbers of photons stored in it. For example, it can simultaneously have zero, three, and six photons at the same time. Measuring the quantum state by counting how many photons are stored forces the trap to "decide" how many there are; but prior to counting, the light trap exists in a quantum superposition, with all three outcomes possible.

Explaining the paradoxical simultaneity of quantum states, Cleland said that it's like having your cake and eating it –– at the same time.

"These superposition states are a fundamental concept in quantum mechanics, but this is the first time they have been controllably created with light," Cleland said. Martinis added, "This experiment can be thought of as a quantum digital-to-analog converter." As digital-to-analog converters are key components in classical communication devices (for example, producing the sound waveforms in cell phones), this experiment might enable more advanced communication protocols for the transmission of quantum information.

First author Hofheinz designed and performed the measurements. He is a postdoctoral researcher from Germany who has been working at UCSB for the last two years on this project. The devices used to perform the experiment were made by Haohua Wang, a postdoctoral researcher from China, who is second author on the Nature publication.

The scientists said their research is leading to the construction of a quantum computer, which will have applications in information encryption and in solving or simulating problems that are not amenable to solution using standard computers.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of California - Santa Barbara. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Max Hofheinz, H. Wang, M. Ansmann, Radoslaw C. Bialczak, Erik Lucero, M. Neeley, A. D. O'Connell, D. Sank, J. Wenner, John M. Martinis & A. N. Cleland. Synthesizing arbitrary quantum states in a superconducting resonator. Nature, 2009; 459 (7246): 546 DOI: 10.1038/nature08005

Cite This Page:

University of California - Santa Barbara. "Breakthrough In Quantum Control Of Light: Implications For Banking, Drug Design, And More." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 31 May 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/05/090529093155.htm>.
University of California - Santa Barbara. (2009, May 31). Breakthrough In Quantum Control Of Light: Implications For Banking, Drug Design, And More. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 22, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/05/090529093155.htm
University of California - Santa Barbara. "Breakthrough In Quantum Control Of Light: Implications For Banking, Drug Design, And More." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/05/090529093155.htm (accessed December 22, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Computers & Math News

Monday, December 22, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Can Bitcoin Survive 2015?

Can Bitcoin Survive 2015?

Newsy (Dec. 22, 2014) Bitcoin's stock has tumbled significantly this year, but more companies now accept it, leading supporters and critics alike to weigh in on its future. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Touch-Free Smart Phone Empowers Mobility-Impaired

Touch-Free Smart Phone Empowers Mobility-Impaired

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Dec. 21, 2014) A touch-free phone developed in Israel enables the mobility-impaired to operate smart phones with just a movement of the head. Suzannah Butcher reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Building Google Into Cars

Building Google Into Cars

Reuters - Business Video Online (Dec. 19, 2014) Google's next Android version could become the standard that'll power your vehicle's entertainment and navigation features, Reuters has learned. Fred Katayama reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
After Sony Hack, What's Next?

After Sony Hack, What's Next?

Reuters - US Online Video (Dec. 19, 2014) The hacking attack on Sony Pictures has U.S. government officials weighing their response to the cyber-attack. Linda So reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Space & Time

Matter & Energy

Computers & Math

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins