New Atom and Photon ‘Switch’ May Herald Breakthrough for Quantum Computers

Computer Chip

Quantum computing could be closer than ever. Scientists have used a laser to place individual rubidium atoms near the surface of a lattice of light, which means that there’s a new method for connecting particles which, in turn, could help develop quantum computing systems.

Quantum computing is computing through the art of physics. It could enable the rapid performance of calculations by taking advantage of the distinctive quantum-level properties of particles. Some particles can actually be in a condition of superposition, which means they appear to exist in two places at the same time. These particles, called qubits, could theoretically contain more information than particles at classical scales and could allow for faster computing.

“This is a major advance of this system,” said Vladan Vuletic, one of the researchers, in a news release. “We have demonstrated basically an atom can switch the phase of a photon. And the photon can switch the phase of an atom.”

So what does that mean exactly?

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