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Discovery of quantum entanglement may enable new communication technologies • The Register

In the cult classic Ender’s Game, Orson Scott Card follows the brightest, tragically youngest tactician on the planet, using a device called ansible to command armies across vast distances in an instant. I imagined a world that I could command.

The jury is still out on whether such a device would be possible, but scientists at the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DoE) Brookhaven National Laboratory said this week that it was “never seen before.” We described quantum entanglement of type in detail. Powerful new communication tools and computers.

Scientists have been trying to exploit quantum entangled particles since the phenomenon was theorized in the early 20th century. This topic has been a source of intense debate among physicists for decades. But late last year, three of his scientists – Alan Aspect, John Krauser and Anton Seilinger – won the Nobel Prize in Physics for their work on quantum entanglement.

A ‘new’ kind of quantum entanglement

Brookhaven’s latest discovery came as he sought new ways to probe the inner workings of the atomic nucleus. The experiment, published in Science Advances, used Brookhaven’s relativistic heavy-ion collider to accelerate particles to near the speed of light.

Colliders typically smash gold particles together. This dissolves the boundary between protons and neutrons, allowing scientists to study quarks and gluons (the two subatomic particles that make up the nucleus) in an environment similar to the early moments of the galaxy.

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

According to Brookhaven, as they passed each other, a series of quantum fluctuations caused by interactions between photons and gluons produced new particles that quickly decayed into a pair of charged pions. Measuring these pions allowed scientists to map the distribution of gluons within the nucleus.

Daniel Brandenburg, a member of the STAR collaboration who worked on the project, said in a blog post that the technology works like a scan in the doctor’s office, but instead of looking inside the patient’s brain, the scientists look at the inner workings. says he is looking into Yoko’s.

It was while making these measurements that scientists say they observed a strange phenomenon: a new kind of quantum interference.

“We measured two outgoing particles and obviously their charges are different. They are different particles. But there are interference patterns that indicate that these particles are entangled or synchronized with each other. Even though these particles are identifiable particles,” Zhangbu Xu physicist at Brookhaven National Labs said in a blog post.

According to Brookhaven, most other observations of entanglement are between photons or identical electrons. “This is the first experimental observation of entanglement between dissimilar particles,” claims Brandenberg.

What are Russians looking for?

Brookhaven is one of three DoE national laboratories targeted by Russian hackers over the summer.

According to Reuters, in August and September, a group of cybercriminals known as Cold River used phishing emails and faked login pages to harvest the credentials of employees of Brookhaven, Argonne and Lawrence Livermore National Laboratories. Did.

These facilities are home to various nuclear research programs, including several related to the maintenance and development of the United States’ Strategic Stockpile.

Reuters was able to confirm Cold River’s involvement with the help of five cybersecurity experts using digital fingerprints associated with the group, but whether the hackers were able to breach the DoE’s defenses. could not be determined.

Cold River has had previous success in compromising high-profile targets. One of the group’s most recent targets is his former head of the British foreign intelligence agency MI6, Richard Dearlove, whose emails were leaked in May.

Prelude to the Quantum Internet

Various DoE national laboratories have been delving into quantum mechanics, including the practical application of quantum entanglement, for years and have invested millions of dollars in developing the quantum internet.

Although not Ansible, quantum networks take advantage of the properties of particles to encode data more efficiently than using the binary 1s and 0s used in classical computing. Anyway, at least that’s the idea.

Efforts to build quantum networks are still in their infancy, but some experiments show promise. In 2019, Brookhaven demonstrated the transfer of entangled photons through a fiber network spanning approximately 11 miles. At the time, this was the longest-range quantum entanglement experiment conducted in the United States.

Recently, Dutch researchers demonstrated the transmission of quantum information using intermediate nodes. This, they say, is an essential feature to make the quantum internet a reality. ®

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