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Quantum Computing a Step Closer to Reality

Artist's representation of quantum computing.

Researchers at Australian National University actually stopped the movement of light in a new experiment.

Credit: WSU

Australian National University (ANU) researchers say they have taken another step toward creating quantum computers by stopping light in a new experiment.

Controlling the movement of light is critical to developing future quantum computers, says ANU postdoctoral researcher Jesse Everett. "Optical quantum computing is still a long way off, but our successful experiment to stop light gets us further along the road," he says.

Everett notes quantum computers based on light could connect with communication technology such as optical fibers and have potential applications in fields such as medicine, defense, telecommunications, and financial services.

The ANU experiment involved creating a light trap by shining infrared lasers into ultra-cold atomic vapor. "The atoms absorbed some of the trapped light, but a substantial proportion of the photons were frozen inside the atomic cloud," Everett says.

ANU professor Ben Buchler says the light-trap experiment demonstrated incredible control of a very complex system.

The new method lets the researchers manipulate the interaction of light and atoms with great precision, and ANU postdoctoral fellow Geoff Campbell notes the team's work could potentially lead to a quantum logic gate, which is the building block of a quantum computer.

From Australian National University
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