Documenting the Coming Singularity

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Bringing quantum craziness to banking? - Breakthrough In Quantum Control Of Light

Science Daily - May 31, 2009

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.

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.

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.

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