Quantum entanglement discovery could enable new communication technology • The Register

Quantum entanglement discovery could enable new communication technology • The Register
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In the cult classic “Ender’s Game,” Orson Scott Card envisioned a world in which Earth’s brightest and tragically youngest tacticians could instantly lead armies over great distances using a device called ansible.

While the jury is still out on whether such a device will be possible, scientists at the US Department of Energy’s (DoE) Brookhaven National Laboratory this week detailed They say a “never seen before” kind of quantum entanglement could one day enable powerful new communication tools and computers.

Scientists have been trying to take advantage of quantum entangled particles since the phenomenon was theorized in the early 20th century, and the subject has been a source of heated debate among physicists for decades. However, late last year, three scientists – Alain Aspect, John Clauser and Anton Zeilinger – were awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics for their work on quantum entanglement.

A ‘new’ kind of quantum entanglement

Brookhaven’s latest discovery was made while he was exploring a new way to probe the inner workings of the atomic nucleus. Experiments described in the journal Science Advancesused Brookhaven’s Relative Heavy Ion Collider to accelerate particles to nearly the speed of light.

The collider would often smash gold particles together. This will melt the boundaries between protons and neutrons and allow scientists to study quarks and gluons, two of the fundamental particles that make up the nuclei of atoms, in an environment similar to that in the galaxy’s earliest moments.

But instead of smashing them together, the gold particles were surrounded by a cloud of photons and allowed to pass each other.

According to Brookhaven, as they passed each other, a series of quantum fluctuations caused by the interaction between photons and gluons produced a new particle that quickly turned into a doubly charged pion. When measured, these pions allowed scientists to map gluon distributions within atomic nuclei.

Inside blog postDaniel Brandenburg, a member of the STAR collaboration working on the project, said the technique works a bit like a scan in a doctor’s office, but instead of seeing inside a patient’s brain, scientists look into the inner workings of protons.

The scientists said they observed an interesting phenomenon while taking these measurements – a new type of quantum interference.

“We measure the two particles that are outgoing, and it’s clear that their charges are different – they’re different particles – but we see interference patterns that show that these particles are entangled or synchronized with each other, even though they are distinguishable particles.” Brookhaven National Laboratories said in a blog post.

According to Brookhaven, most other entanglement observations have been between photons or identical electrons. “This is the first experimental observation of entanglement between different particles,” Brandenburg says.

What are the Russians looking for?

Brookhaven was one of three DoE national labs targeted by Russian hackers over the summer.

According to this ReutersBetween August and September, a group of cybercriminals known as Cold River used phishing emails and fabricated login pages to gather employee credentials from Brookhaven, Argonne, and Lawrence Livermore National Laboratories.

The facilities are home to a variety of nuclear research programs, including many related to the maintenance and development of the US strategic stockpile.

While Reuters was able to confirm Cold River’s involvement with the help of five cybersecurity experts using digital fingerprints associated with the group, it was unable to determine whether the hackers were able to breach the DoE’s defenses.

Cold River had previously succeeded by compromising high-profile goals. More of the group final destinations It was Richard Dearlove, the former head of MI6, the UK’s foreign intelligence service, whose emails were leaked in May.

A start for the quantum internet

Several national labs of the DoE have spent years researching and investing in quantum mechanics, including practical applications of quantum entanglement. millions of dollars The evolution of the quantum internet.

While there are no responders, quantum networks take advantage of the properties of particles to encode data more efficiently than is possible using the binary ones and zeros used in conventional computing. At least that’s the idea anyway.

While efforts to create quantum networks are still in their infancy, a few experiments show promise. at Brookhaven in 2019 showed The transfer of entangled photons over a fiber network extending about 11 miles. At the time, it was the longest-distance quantum entanglement experiment ever to take place in the United States.

More recently, researchers in the Netherlands shown The transmission of quantum information using an intermediary node is a feature they say is necessary to enable the quantum internet. ®

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