Maths, encryption, and quantum computing

Are you worried about someone listening into your calls, reading your emails, or watching your video chats? You’re not alone. The internet has changed the face of communication and how communication can be stolen, spied upon or manipulated, and it always gets harder to protect ourselves as technology evolves. This becomes even more difficult as … Continue reading Maths, encryption, and quantum computing

Approaching zero

By David Ernest McClelland, Robert Ward and Terry McRae The LIGO gravitational wave observatory in the United States is so sensitive to vibrations it can detect the tiny ripples in space-time called gravitational waves. These waves are caused by colliding black holes and other stellar cataclysms in distant galaxies, and they cause movements in the … Continue reading Approaching zero

Listening to the atom group chat

Dutch and German researchers have intercepted a “chat” between two atoms, which may have interesting implications for research into quantum computing. Atoms don’t actually talk, but they do interact via a property called spin. “These spins influence each other, like compass needles do when you bring them close together,” explains team leader Sander Otte from … Continue reading Listening to the atom group chat

Turbulence trouble

“When I meet God,” physicist Werner Heisenberg allegedly once said, “I’m going to ask him two questions: why relativity? And why turbulence? I really believe he’ll have an answer for the first.” Although the quote is almost certainly fictional, it captures the sheer frustration many physicists feel about turbulence: the complex, chaotic, unpredictable flows in … Continue reading Turbulence trouble

A new spin on atoms

US researchers have developed a way to control and measure atoms that are so close together they are impossible to distinguish by optical means. When they get cosy – that is, within a few billionths of a metre of each other – they exhibit interesting quantum mechanical behaviour. At this scale, their spins begin to … Continue reading A new spin on atoms

Pushing the laser limit

Australian quantum researchers have shown it’s possible to vastly improve the coherence of lasers, overcoming a bound that has been accepted as a fundamental limit for 60 years. The results are published in the journal Nature Physics. Lasers are defined as highly directional, monochromatic, coherent light. This means that light is emitted as a narrow … Continue reading Pushing the laser limit

Raising questions about physical reality

If a tree falls in a forest and no one is there to hear it, does it make a sound? Perhaps not, some say. And if someone is there to hear it? If you think that means it obviously did make a sound, you might need to revise that opinion. We have found a new … Continue reading Raising questions about physical reality

Where robotics meets quantum computing

Australian physicists say they have adapted techniques from autonomous vehicles and robotics to efficiently assess the performance of quantum devices. Writing in the journal Quantum Information, a University of Sydney team reports that its new approach has been shown experimentally to outperform simplistic characterisation of these environments by a factor of three, with a much … Continue reading Where robotics meets quantum computing

Entanglement and a quantum internet

US physicists say they have found “the missing link” for a practical quantum internet and, as such, taken a big step forward in the development of long-distance quantum networks. The answer is a modern version of the old-fashioned idea of a repeater, which allows communication over distance by correcting or compensating for signal loss. We’ve … Continue reading Entanglement and a quantum internet

Scientists crack 58-year-old quantum mystery

Curiosity-driven research can yield exciting discoveries. The latest is an accidental breakthrough by Australian engineers that has unintentionally solved a 58-year old mystery in quantum science. As described in the journal Nature, they have worked out how to do what Nobel Laureate Nicolaas Bloembergen first suggested in 1961 but no-one has yet cracked: control the nucleus of a single atom … Continue reading Scientists crack 58-year-old quantum mystery