Join our email list to receive a comprehensive summary of the top views from the week in our Voices Dispatches newsletter.
Join our Voices newsletter for free, delivered weekly.
Researchers have discovered a way to connect molecules in unusual states, causing them to interact with each other from great distances. This advancement has the potential to revolutionize quantum computing.
Quantum computers have the ability to solve certain problems at a significantly faster rate than traditional computers. This is due to their capability to perform multiple calculations simultaneously at incredibly high speeds.
A classical computer bit can only hold the value of 0 or 1, but quantum bits (qubits) can exist in a superposition of both values simultaneously. This allows for a larger scope of calculations to occur simultaneously.
These computers utilize the principle of quantum physics known as “entanglement,” in which particles can interact with each other even if they are separated by great distances. This phenomenon was described as “spooky action at a distance” by physicist Albert Einstein.
This phenomenon occurs when two particles become strongly connected, maintaining this connection even when they are separated by vast distances.
Advancements in quantum entanglement can aid in the creation of computer simulations for complex materials with challenging behaviors, and produce quantum sensors that have faster measuring capabilities compared to their conventional versions.
Yet, the ability to control quantum entanglement remains a difficult task.
This is due to the fact that scientists are still uncertain about which medium – such as ions, photons, or atoms – is most effective for producing qubits.
A recent research published in the Science journal has demonstrated that it is possible to precisely control individual molecules to form interlocking quantum states. This is the first time such a phenomenon has been observed.
“According to study co-author Yukai Lu from Princeton University in the US, this translates to new methods for storing and manipulating quantum information in practical applications.”
According to scientists, the entanglement of molecules offers more possibilities for interaction compared to atoms, making it a useful tool for simulating intricate materials.
For example, a molecule has the ability to vibrate and rotate in various ways, and two of these ways can be utilized to represent a qubit.
Although molecules offer potential benefits for quantum computing due to their degrees of freedom, they are challenging to manipulate in lab environments.
In the most recent research, researchers successfully addressed these difficulties through various meticulous methods, such as utilizing a laser to decrease the temperature of the molecules to extremely low levels where quantum mechanics becomes the main focus.
Next, by utilizing microwave pulses and “optical tweezers,” which are able to manipulate extremely small molecules, researchers could cause individual molecules to interact with each other in a coherent manner and become entangled.
Experts suggest that this entanglement serves as a fundamental component in both the development of quantum computing and the simulation of intricate materials.
“According to Lawrence Cheuk, one of the authors of the study, using molecules in quantum science is an emerging field, and our successful demonstration of being able to create entanglement on demand is a significant milestone in proving that molecules can be a feasible platform for quantum science.”