Entanglement study makes a quantum leap.

The first experiment to entangle at a long distance - Comment on 2012 July 14

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While other experiments have successfully entangled atoms, photons and diamond crystals, this was the first to do so at a long distance and include a signal, or herald, to let scientists know that entanglement had been achieved. Read more:

Entanglement study makes a quantum leap

In the bizarre realm of quantum mechanics, entanglement stands as the essential feature, and scientists say its exploitation could lead to extraordinary leaps in computing, communications and cryptology. A team in Germany takes a crucial step.

Some scientists have likened it to voodoo, while Albert Einstein called it just plain "spooky."

In the bizarre realm of quantum mechanics, entanglement is the phenomenon in which two seemingly distinct particles control each other in ways that defy common physical sense. For instance, when an atom located in Beijing is measured by an observer, it will exhibit the exact opposite qualities of its entangled counterpart in Boston.

In the 1930s, the idea of entanglement seemed so absurd that Einstein derided it as "spooky action at a distance" and argued that it revealed serious shortcomings in quantum theory.

Today, however, entanglement stands as the essential feature of quantum mechanics, and scientists say its exploitation could lead to extraordinary leaps in computing, communications and cryptology. A quantum computer, they say, would take seconds to solve problems that today's PCs would take billions of years to parse. Governments, financial institutions and armies, meanwhile, are intrigued by the potential for secure long-distance communications that would instantly reveal attempts at hacking.

Those technologies may still be sometime in the future, but researchers in Germany have taken a step closer to their realization. In a report this week in the journal Science, physicists at the Ludwig-Maximilian-University in Munich said they had demonstrated that two atoms separated by a distance of about 65 feet could become entangled and trigger an alert to announce that they had done so.

While other experiments have successfully entangled atoms, photons and diamond crystals, this was the first to do so at a long distance and include a signal, or herald, to let scientists know that entanglement had been achieved.

 

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