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  • richardmitnick 4:19 pm on March 6, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: An atom-defect hybrid quantum system, , , Coherence in quantum behavior, If you can see things on smaller scales with better sensitivity than anybody else you’re going to find new physics, In the experiment we will have an atom on the diamond surface that couples to a shallow subsurface NV center inside the material in a highly controlled cryogenic and ultra-high vacuum environment, Key to this technology is the nitrogen-vacancy (NV) center in diamond an extensively studied point defect in diamond’s carbon atom lattice, , , , Superposition, The physical and materials knowledge gained by mastering the interface of such a hybrid system would contribute to the development of quantum computing systems, The technique is reminiscent of molecular beam epitaxy (MBE) a method of “growing” a material atom-by-atom on a substrate, This project is a “natural fit” for UC Santa Barbara say the researchers due to the campus’s strengths in both physics and materials sciences, To Hold Without Touching, UCSB- University of California Santa Barbara   

    From UC Santa Barbara: “Sensing Disturbances in the Force” 

    UC Santa Barbara Name bloc
    From UC Santa Barbara

    March 5, 2019
    Sonia Fernandez

    UC Santa Barbara researchers receive U.S. Department of Energy grant to build atom-defect hybrid quantum sensor.

    1

    It will be a feat of engineering and physics at the smallest scales, but it could open the biggest doors — to new science and more advanced technologies. UC Santa Barbara physicists Ania Jayich and David Weld, and materials scientist Kunal Mukherjee, are teaming up to build an atom-defect hybrid quantum system — a sensor technology that would use the power of quantum science to unlock the mysteries of the atomic and subatomic world.

    “We’re at this tipping point where we know there’s a lot of impactful and fundamentally exciting things we can do,” said Jayich, whose research investigates quantum effects at the nanoscale. The $1.5 million grant from the Department of Energy’s Office of Basic Sciences will kickstart the development of a system that will allow researchers an unusually high level of control over atoms while simultaneously leaving their “quantumness” untouched.

    “In this whole field of quantum technology, that has been the big challenge,” Jayich said. In the quirky and highly unintuitive world of quantum mechanics, she explained, objects can exist in a superposition of many places at once, and entangled elements separated by thousands of miles can be inextricably linked — phenomena which, in turn, have opened up new and powerful possibilities for areas such as sensing, computing and the deepest investigations of nature.

    However, the coherence that is the signature of these quantum behaviors — a state of information that is the foundation of quantum technology — is exceedingly fragile and fleeting.

    “Quantum coherence is such a delicate phenomenon,” Jayich said. “Any uncontrolled interaction with the environment will kill it. And that’s the whole challenge behind advancing this field — how do we preserve the very delicate quantumness of an atom or defect, or anything?” To study a quantum element such as an atom, one would have to interrogate it, she explained, but the act of measuring can also destroy its quantum nature.

    To Hold Without Touching

    Fortunately, Jayich and colleagues see a way around this conundrum.

    “It’s a hybrid atomic- and solid-state system,” Jayich said. Key to this technology is the nitrogen-vacancy (NV) center in diamond, an extensively studied point defect in diamond’s carbon atom lattice. The NV center is comprised of a vacancy created by a missing carbon atom next to another vacancy that is substituted with a nitrogen atom. With its several unpaired electrons, it is highly sensitive to and interactive with external perturbations, such as the minute magnetic or electric fields that would occur in the presence of individual atoms of interest.

    “In the proposed experiment, we would have an atom on the diamond surface that couples to a shallow, subsurface NV center inside the material, in a highly controlled, cryogenic and ultra-high vacuum environment,” Jayich explained. The diamond surface provides a natural trapping that allows researchers to more easily hold the atom in place — a challenge for many quantum scientists who want to trap individual atoms. Further, upon reading the state of the defect, one could understand the quantum properties of the atom under interrogation — without touching the atom itself and destroying its coherence.

    Previous methods aimed at interrogating individual adatoms (adsorbed atoms) relied on passing current through the atoms and necessitated metal surfaces, both of which, according to Jayich, reduce quantum coherence times.

    “The past several decades of work in atomic physics have resulted in tools that allow exquisite quantum control of all degrees of freedom of atomic ensembles, but typically only when the atoms are gently held in a vacuum far away from all other matter,” added Weld. “This experiment seeks to extend this level of control into a much messier but also much more technologically relevant regime, by manipulating and sensing individual atoms that are chemically bonded to a solid surface.”

    With the hybrid system, Jayich said, it would be “very easy to talk to the NV center defect with light, and the atoms have the benefit of retaining quantum information for very long periods of time. So we have a system where we leverage the best of both worlds — the best of the atom and the best of the defect — and put them together in a way that’s functional.”

    A Foundation for Future Quantum Tech

    Looking forward, the state-of-the-art spatial resolution and sensitivity of this atom-defect hybrid quantum system could offer researchers the deepest look at the workings of individual atoms, or structures of molecules at nanometer- and Angstrom scales.

    “If you can see things on smaller scales with better sensitivity than anybody else, you’re going to find new physics,” Jayich said. The connections of microscopic structure to macroscopic behavior in materials synthesis could be elucidated. Quantum phenomena in condensed matter systems could be probed. Proteins that have evaded structural determination — such as membrane proteins — could be studied.

    This project is a “natural fit” for UC Santa Barbara, say the researchers, due to the campus’s strengths in both physics and materials sciences. The technique is reminiscent of molecular beam epitaxy (MBE), a method of “growing” a material atom-by-atom on a substrate.

    “There is a strong tradition of materials deposition at UCSB, ranging from metals, semiconductors to novel electronic materials,” Mukherjee said of the campus’s long record of materials growth and world-class MBE facilities. Among the first few atoms they intend to study are rare-earth types such as holmium or dysprosium “as they have unpaired electrons which are protected from environmental interactions by the atomic structure,” noted Mukherjee, adding that he is “particularly excited” about the challenge of removing the atoms from and resetting the diamond surface without breaking vacuum.

    Additionally, the physical and materials knowledge gained by mastering the interface of such a hybrid system would contribute to the development of quantum computing systems. According to Jayich, future practicable quantum computers would likely be a hybrid of several elements, similar to how conventional computers are a mix of magnetic, electronic and solid-state components.

    See the full article here .


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    The University of California, Santa Barbara (commonly referred to as UC Santa Barbara or UCSB) is a public research university and one of the 10 general campuses of the University of California system. Founded in 1891 as an independent teachers’ college, UCSB joined the University of California system in 1944 and is the third-oldest general-education campus in the system. The university is a comprehensive doctoral university and is organized into five colleges offering 87 undergraduate degrees and 55 graduate degrees. In 2012, UCSB was ranked 41st among “National Universities” and 10th among public universities by U.S. News & World Report. UCSB houses twelve national research centers, including the renowned Kavli Institute for Theoretical Physics.

     
  • richardmitnick 1:22 pm on January 21, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , Superposition   

    From Max Planck Gesellschaft: “Flying optical cats for quantum communication” 

    MPG bloc

    From Max Planck Gesellschaft

    January 21, 2019

    An entangled atom-light state realizes a paradoxical thought experiment by Erwin Schrödinger.

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    Dead and alive: Schrödinger’s cat is entangled with an atom. If the atom is excited, the cat is alive. If it has decayed, the cat is dead. In the experiment, a light pulse represents the two states (peaks) and may be in a superposition of both, just like the cat. © Christoph Hohmann, Nanosystems Initiative Munich (NIM)

    An old thought experiment now appears in a new light. In 1935 Erwin Schrödinger formulated a thought experiment designed to capture the paradoxical nature of quantum physics. A group of researchers led by Gerhard Rempe, Director of the Department of Quantum Dynamics at the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics, has now realized an optical version of Schrödinger’s thought experiment in the laboratory. In this instance, pulses of laser light play the role of the cat. The insights gained from the project open up new prospects for enhanced control of optical states, that can in the future be used for quantum communications.

    “According to Schrödinger‘s idea, it is possible for a microscopic particle, such as a single atom, to exist in two different states at once. This is called a superposition. Moreover, when such a particle interacts with a macroscopic object, they can become ‘entangled’, and the macroscopic object may end up in superposition state. Schrödinger proposed the example of a cat, which can be both dead and alive, depending on whether or not a radioactive atom has decayed – a notion which is in obvious conflict with our everyday experience,” Professor Rempe explains.

    In order to realize this philosophical gedanken experiment in the laboratory, physicists have turned to various model systems. The one implemented in this instance follows a scheme proposed by the theoreticians Wang and Duan in 2005. Here, the superposition of two states of an optical pulse serves as the cat. The experimental techniques required to implement this proposal – in particular an optical resonator – have been developed in Rempe’s group over the past few years.

    A test for the scope of quantum mechanics

    The researchers involved in the project were initially skeptical as to whether it would be possible to generate and reliably detect such quantum mechanically entangled cat states with the available technology. The major difficulty lay in the need to minimize optical losses in their experiment. Once this was achieved, all measurements were found to confirm Schrödinger’s prediction. The experiment allows the scientists to explore the scope of application of quantum mechanics and to develop new techniques for quantum communication.

    The laboratory at the Max Planck Institute in Garching is equipped with all the tools necessary to perform state-of-the-art experiments in quantum optics. A vacuum chamber and high-precision lasers are used to isolate a single atom and manipulate its state. At the core of the set-up is an optical resonator, consisting of two mirrors separated by a slit only 0.5 mm wide, where an atom can be trapped. A laser pulse is fed into the resonator and reflected, and thereby interacts with the atom. As a result, the reflected light gets entangled with the atom. By performing a suitable measurement on the atom, the optical pulse can be prepared in a superposition state, just like that of Schrödinger’s cat. One special feature of the experiment is that the entangled states can be generated deterministically. In other words, a cat state is produced in every trial.

    “We have succeeded in generating flying optical cat states, and demonstrated that they behave in accordance with the predictions of quantum mechanics. These findings prove that our method for creating cat states works, and allowed us to explore the essential parameters,” says PhD student Stephan Welte.

    A whole zoo of states for future quantum communication

    “In our experimental setup, we have succeeded not only in creating one specific cat state, but arbitrarily many such states with different superposition phases – a whole zoo, so to speak. This capability could in the future be utilized to encode quantum information,” adds Bastian Hacker.

    “Schrödinger‘s cat was originally enclosed in a box to avoid any interaction with the environment. Our optical cat states are not enclosed in a box. They propagate freely in space. Yet they remain isolated from the environment and retain their properties over long distances. In the future we could use this technology to construct quantum networks, in which flying optical cat states transmit information,” says Gerhard Rempe. This underlines the significance of his group’s latest achievement.

    See the full article here .


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    MPG campus

    The Max Planck Society for the Advancement of Science (German: Max-Planck-Gesellschaft zur Förderung der Wissenschaften e. V.; abbreviated MPG) is a formally independent non-governmental and non-profit association of German research institutes founded in 1911 as the Kaiser Wilhelm Society and renamed the Max Planck Society in 1948 in honor of its former president, theoretical physicist Max Planck. The society is funded by the federal and state governments of Germany as well as other sources.

    According to its primary goal, the Max Planck Society supports fundamental research in the natural, life and social sciences, the arts and humanities in its 83 (as of January 2014)[2] Max Planck Institutes. The society has a total staff of approximately 17,000 permanent employees, including 5,470 scientists, plus around 4,600 non-tenured scientists and guests. Society budget for 2015 was about €1.7 billion.

    The Max Planck Institutes focus on excellence in research. The Max Planck Society has a world-leading reputation as a science and technology research organization, with 33 Nobel Prizes awarded to their scientists, and is generally regarded as the foremost basic research organization in Europe and the world. In 2013, the Nature Publishing Index placed the Max Planck institutes fifth worldwide in terms of research published in Nature journals (after Harvard, MIT, Stanford and the US NIH). In terms of total research volume (unweighted by citations or impact), the Max Planck Society is only outranked by the Chinese Academy of Sciences, the Russian Academy of Sciences and Harvard University. The Thomson Reuters-Science Watch website placed the Max Planck Society as the second leading research organization worldwide following Harvard University, in terms of the impact of the produced research over science fields.

     
  • richardmitnick 12:56 pm on February 6, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , Superposition,   

    From Symmetry: “Learning to speak quantum” 

    Symmetry Mag

    Symmetry

    02/06/18
    Laura Dattaro

    1
    Artwork by Sandbox Studio, Chicago with Ana Kova

    Particle physicists are studying ways to harness the power of the quantum realm to further their research.

    In a 1981 lecture, the famed physicist Richard Feynman wondered if a computer could ever simulate the entire universe. The difficulty with this task is that, on the smallest scales, the universe operates under strange rules: Particles can be here and there at the same time; objects separated by immense distances can influence each other instantaneously; the simple act of observing can change the outcome of reality.

    “Nature isn’t classical, dammit,” Feynman told his audience, “and if you want to make a simulation of nature, you’d better make it quantum mechanical.”

    Quantum computers

    Feynman was imagining a quantum computer, a computer with bits that acted like the particles of the quantum world. Today, nearly 40 years later, such computers are starting to become a reality, and they pose a unique opportunity for particle physicists.

    1
    IBM

    “The systems that we deal with in particle physics are intrinsically quantum mechanical systems,” says Panagiotis Spentzouris, head of Fermilab’s Scientific Computing Division. “Classical computers cannot simulate large entangled quantum systems. You have plenty of problems that we would like to be able to solve accurately without making approximations that we hope we will be able to do on the quantum computer.”

    Quantum computers allow for a more realistic representation of quantum processes. They take advantage of a phenomenon known as superposition, in which a particle such as an electron exists in a probabilistic state spread across multiple locations at once.

    Unlike a classical computer bit, which can be either on or off, a quantum bit—or qubit—can be on, off, or a superposition of both on and off, allowing for computations to be performed simultaneously instead of sequentially.

    This not only speeds up computations; it makes currently impossible ones possible. A problem that could effectively trap a normal computer in an infinite loop, testing possibility after possibility, could be solved almost instantaneously by a quantum computer. This processing speed could be key for particle physicists, who wade through enormous amounts of data generated by detectors.

    In the first demonstration of this potential, a team at CalTech recently used a type of quantum computer called a quantum annealer to “rediscover” the Higgs boson, the particle that, according to the Standard Model of particle physics, gives mass to every other fundamental particle.

    Standard Model of Particle Physics from Symmetry Magazine

    Scientists originally discovered the Higgs boson in 2012 using particle detectors at the Large Hadron Collider at CERN research center in Europe.

    CERN CMS Higgs Event


    CERN ATLAS Higgs Event

    They created Higgs bosons by converting the energy of particle collisions temporarily into matter. Those temporary Higgs bosons quickly decayed, converting their energy into other, more common particles, which the detectors were able to measure.

    Scientists identified the mass of the Higgs boson by adding up the masses of those less massive particles, the decay products. But to do so, they needed to pick out which of those particles came from the decay of Higgs bosons, and which ones came from something else. To a detector, a Higgs boson decay can look remarkably similar to other, much more common decays.

    LHC scientists trained a machine learning algorithm to find the Higgs signal against the decay background—the needle in the haystack. This training process required a huge amount of simulated data.

    Physicist Maria Spiropulu, who was on the team that discovered the Higgs the first time around, wanted to see if she could improve the process with quantum computing. The group she leads at CalTech used a quantum computer from a company called D-Wave to train a similar machine learning algorithm. They found that the quantum computer trained the machine learning algorithm on a significantly smaller amount of data than the classical method required. In theory, this would give the algorithm a head start, like giving someone looking for the needle in the haystack expert training in spotting the glint of metal before turning their eyes to the hay.

    “The machine cannot learn easily,” Spiropulu says. “It needs huge, huge data. In the quantum annealer, we have a hint that it can learn with small data, and if you learn with small data you can use it as initial conditions later.”

    Some scientists say it may take a decade or more to get to the point of using quantum computers regularly in particle physics, but until then they will continue to make advances to enhance their research.

    Quantum sensors

    Quantum mechanics is also disrupting another technology used in particle physics: the sensor, the part of a particle detector that picks up the energy from a particle interaction.

    In the quantum world, energy is discrete. The noun quantum means “a specific amount” and is used in physics to mean “the smallest quantity of energy.” Classical sensors generally do not make precise enough measurements to pick up individual quanta of energy, but a new type of quantum sensor can.

    “A quantum sensor is one that is able to sense these individual packets of energy as they arrive,” says Aaron Chou, a scientist at Fermilab. “A non-quantum sensor would not be able to resolve the individual arrivals of each of these little packets of energy, but would instead measure a total flow of the stuff.”

    Chou is taking advantage of these quantum sensors to probe the nature of dark matter. Using technology originally developed for quantum computers, Chou and his team are building ultrasensitive detectors for a type of theorized dark matter particle known as an axion.

    “We’re taking one of the qubit designs that was previously created for quantum computing and we’re trying to use those to sense the presence of photons that came from the dark matter,” Chou says.

    For Spiropulu, these applications of quantum computers represent an elegant feedback system in the progression of technology and scientific application. Basic research in physics led to the initial transistors that fed the computer science revolution, which is now on the edge of transforming basic research in physics.

    “You want to disrupt computing, which was initially a physics advance,” Spiropulu says. “Now we are using physics configurations and physics systems themselves to assist computer science to solve any problem, including physics problems.”

    See the full article here .

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    Symmetry is a joint Fermilab/SLAC publication.


     
  • richardmitnick 11:57 am on September 5, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Minuscule jitters may hint at quantum collapse mechanism, , , , , Superposition   

    From Science News: “Minuscule jitters may hint at quantum collapse mechanism” 

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    ScienceNews

    September 1, 2017
    Emily Conover

    Data match prediction for wave function theory, but more experiments are needed.

    1
    A tiny, shimmying cantilever wiggles a bit more than expected in a new experiment. The excess jiggling of the miniature, diving board–like structure might hint at why the strange rules of quantum mechanics don’t apply in the familiar, “classical” world. But that potential hint is still a long shot: Other sources of vibration are yet to be fully ruled out, so more experiments are needed.

    Quantum particles can occupy more than one place at the same time, a condition known as a superposition (SN: 11/20/10, p. 15). Only once a particle’s position is measured does its location become definite. In quantum terminology, the particle’s wave function, which characterizes the spreading of the particle, collapses to a single location (SN Online: 5/26/14).

    In contrast, larger objects are always found in one place. “We never see a table or chair in a quantum superposition,” says theoretical physicist Angelo Bassi of the University of Trieste in Italy, a coauthor of the study, to appear in Physical Review Letters. But standard quantum mechanics doesn’t fully explain why large objects don’t exist in superpositions, or how and why wave functions collapse.

    Extensions to standard quantum theory can alleviate these conundrums by assuming that wave functions collapse spontaneously, at random intervals. For larger objects, that collapse happens more quickly, meaning that on human scales objects don’t show up in two places at once.

    Now, scientists have tested one such theory by looking for one of its predictions: a minuscule jitter, or “noise,” imparted by the random nature of wave function collapse. The scientists looked for this jitter in a miniature cantilever, half a millimeter long. After cooling the cantilever and isolating it to reduce external sources of vibration, the researchers found that an unexplained trembling still remained.

    In 2007, physicist Stephen Adler of the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, N.J., predicted that the level of jitter from wave function collapse would be large enough to spot in experiments like this one. The new measurement is consistent with Adler’s prediction. “That’s the interesting fact, that the noise matches these predictions,” says study coauthor Andrea Vinante, formerly of the Institute for Photonics and Nanotechnologies in Trento, Italy. But, he says, he wouldn’t bet on the source being wave function collapse. “It is much more likely that it’s some not very well understood effect in the experiment.” In future experiments, the scientists plan to change the design of the cantilever to attempt to isolate the vibration’s source.

    The result follows similar tests performed with the LISA Pathfinder spacecraft, which was built as a test-bed for gravitational wave detection techniques. Two different studies found no excess jiggling Physical Review D] of free-falling weights [Physical Review D] within the spacecraft. But the new cantilever experiment tests for wave function collapse occurring at different rate and length scales than those previous studies.

    ESA/LISA Pathfinder

    Two different studies found no excess jiggling of free-falling weights within the spacecraft. But the new cantilever experiment tests for wave function collapse occurring at different rate and length scales than those previous studies.

    Theories that include spontaneous wave function collapse are not yet accepted by most physicists. But interest in them has recently become more widespread, says physicist David Vitali of the University of Camerino in Italy, “sparked by the fact that technological advances now make fundamental tests of quantum mechanics much easier to conceive.” Focusing on a simple system like the cantilever is the right approach, says Vitali, who was not involved with the research. Still, “a lot of things can go wrong or can be not fully controlled.”

    To conclude that wave function collapse is the cause of the excess vibrations, every other possible source will have to be ruled out. So, Adler says, “it’s going to take a lot of confirmation to check that this is a real effect.”

    See the full article here .

    Science News is edited for an educated readership of professionals, scientists and other science enthusiasts. Written by a staff of experienced science journalists, it treats science as news, reporting accurately and placing findings in perspective. Science News and its writers have won many awards for their work; here’s a list of many of them.

    Published since 1922, the biweekly print publication reaches about 90,000 dedicated subscribers and is available via the Science News app on Android, Apple and Kindle Fire devices. Updated continuously online, the Science News website attracted over 12 million unique online viewers in 2016.

    Science News is published by the Society for Science & the Public, a nonprofit 501(c) (3) organization dedicated to the public engagement in scientific research and education.

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  • richardmitnick 11:31 am on May 29, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , Doped diamond, , , Superposition   

    From COSMOS: “Doped diamond may lead to everyday quantum computers” 

    Cosmos Magazine bloc

    COSMOS

    29 May 2017
    Andrew Masterson

    1
    Precise placement of atoms in a diamond lattice may be a handy technique for quantum computer manufacture. Victor Habbick Visions / Getty

    Quantum computers are still halfway mythical, but they are moving closer to reality step by tiny step.

    One of the most widely favoured structures for building viable quantum computers is a diamond surface dotted with irregularities only a couple of atoms wide.

    The problem researchers face, however, is making sure those irregularities – essentially atom-scale holes and accompanying bits of atom-wide foreign material – are drilled into the diamond substrate in exactly the right spot.

    A report at Nature Communications by a team from MIT, Harvard University, and Sandia National Laboratories, in the US, covers a new method of doing so, creating the “defects” in the diamond crystal structure within 50 nanometres of their optimal locations.

    The precise placement of the irregularities – known as “dopant-vacancies” in the business – is a critical outcome if quantum computers are ever to end up on the market.

    This is because the combination of a tiny hole and a couple of atoms of non-diamond matter – nitrogen, for instance – can be engineered to act as a qubit, the fundamental element of quantum computing.

    At the heart of a qubit is a subatomic particle that can simultaneously occupy a number of contradictory states – on, off, and a “superposition” of both together, for instance. The combination of the hole, the foreign atoms, and the light refracted through the diamond combine to create an elegant qubit.

    At least, theoretically. To date, most experimental work has been done using nitrogen dopant-vacancies. These have the advantage of being able to maintain superposition longer than other candidates, but emit light across a broad range of frequencies, making information retrieval difficult.

    The MIT-Harvard-Sandia team, led by Tim Schröder, experimented instead with silicon-based defects, which emit light in a much narrower range. That advantage, however, comes with its own challenge: the silicon dopant-vacancies need to be chilled to within a few thousands of a degree above absolute zero if they are to maintain a superposition for any length of time.

    That remains a challenge still to be met, however. The import of the current study, published in the journal Nature Communications, lies in the increase in the accuracy of positioning the defects in the diamond.

    To achieve this, scientists at MIT and Harvard first created a sliver of diamond only 200 nanometres thick. Onto this they etched tiny cavities.

    The substrate was then sent to the Sandia laboratories, where each cavity was bombarded with 20 to 30 silicon ions. The process led to only about two percent of the cavities attracting silicon residents.

    Back at MIT a second new process was employed. The diamond sliver was heated to 1000 ºC, at which temperature its component lattice became malleable, allowing the researchers to align more cavities with more silicon particles – taking the total number of dopant-vacancies to 20%.

    Most of the irregularities thus produced were within 50 nanometres of their optimal position, and shone at around 85% of optimal brightness.

    A quantum computer in every household is still a long way off, but this study marks a potentially important step in the journey.

    See the full article here .

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