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#3432 - Tuesday, February 3, 2009 - Editor: Jerry Katz

The Nonduality Highlights    

In this issue something about quantum theory and something about quantum ... life.    


Quantum information teleported between distant atoms   New technique can move fragile quantum data between atoms without destroying it  

By Patrick Barry  

Web edition : Thursday, January 22nd, 2009  

A qubit walks into a bar, unsure of whether to order drink A or drink B. If the bartender asks the qubit what it wants, the qubit will collapse and be destroyed. But now researchers can instantly teleport the original, intact qubit to another “bar” far away.

In the Jan. 23 Science, a team is reporting what is the first successful transfer of a qubit — an undecided bit of quantum information — between two widely separated, charged atoms. Because the quantum information instantly hops from one atom to the other without ever crossing the space between the two, scientists call the transfer “teleportation.”

Being able to teleport such information between atoms could aid the development of ultrafast quantum computers and extremely secure quantum communication, the researchers point out.

“The catch with quantum information is that you can’t read it without destroying it,” says study coauthor Steven Olmschenk, a physicist at the University of Maryland in College Park. “Somehow you have to send it from one point to another without ever having read it.”

To read the quantum information contained in an atom or a photon, scientists must measure some property of that particle. But in the quantum world, the act of measuring a particle alters it. Until it’s measured, an atom or photon can remain in an ambiguous state of all possible values simultaneously. Whenever a particle is measured, though, this range of possibilities “collapses” into a single, distinct value. The original, uncommitted state is lost, and it’s this ability to hold multiple values at once that gives qubits such potential for high-performance computing.

Scientists have previously teleported unmolested qubits between photons of light, and between photons and clouds of atoms. But researchers have long sought to teleport qubits between distant atoms. Light’s high speed of travel makes photons good transporters of information, but for storing quantum information, atoms are a much better choice because they’re easier to hold on to.

“This is a big deal,” comments Myungshik Kim, a quantum physicist at Queen’s University Belfast in the United Kingdom. “To store information as it is in quantum form, you have to have a teleportation scheme available between two stationary qubits. Then you can store them and manipulate them later on.”

To teleport the qubit, Olmschenk’s team first linked the fates of two charged atoms of ytterbium, which were suspended in a vacuum chamber by electric fields. Zapping one of the atoms with a microwave pulse excited an electron in that atom, thus putting that electron into a mixture of two possible states. Researchers then zapped each atom with an ultrafast laser that caused each atom to emit a single photon of light. The wavelengths, or colors, of these photons depended on which states the electrons were in. Crossing these photons in a beamsplitter sometimes entwined the states of those electrons, a bizarre quantum phenomenon called entanglement.

 When two particles become entangled, their separate quantum identities get blended so that a single equation represents both. So entangling the two electrons caused the original qubit — the unknown, unresolved mixture of two possible states — to become essentially shared between the two atoms.

The researchers then measured the first atom, thus destroying the delicate quantum information it contained, and also destroying the entanglement. That left the original qubit intact in only the second, recipient atom, completing the teleportation.

While the work marks a fundamental achievement in manipulating quantum information, Eugene Polzik, a physicist at the Niels Bohr Institute in Copenhagen, notes that the efficiency of the procedure is still too low to be useful. Currently, only about one out of every 100 million attempts results in a successful entanglement, though Olmschenk says this rate could be significantly improved.

“This very low efficiency is partly due to technical reasons,” such as a small lens for capturing photons released by the atoms and low detection efficiency for those photons, Polzik comments. “It is nonetheless a spectacular achievement.”



Existence in a nutshell:

Everything is much simpler than you thought!

Just think of this universe as a bunch of stars, planets and other stuff
zipping here and there.

Pretend that no life every evolved anywhere in the universe. No life
ever started on earth or anywhere else.

It is just the universe of burning stars, planets and other stuff
zipping around.

That is it. As it is.

Birth, death, life, mind, thoughts don't play any part. Just a bunch of
gas and rocks spinning around. That is the universe. That is As It Is.

Then after billions of years, through some unlikely but eventually bound
to happen event through the eons of time, some chemicals combine
together to create a self reproducing form. Over more billions of years,
these evolve into more complex self reproducing forms.

Eventually, one of them evolves to such a level of complexity that it
looks up and says "I see the Universe!"

Though it is nothing more than just another piece of all the matter and
energy that make up the universe, it can look out for the first time and
see the universe.

It is like when you look at your foot. You can see your foot. You say:
"My foot is down there. I am not my foot. I am separate from my foot
since I am up here." But you know that is not true. You are your foot as
much as you are your nose, your ears, or your fingers. Your foot just
seems separate and "down there" because your eyes are up here and can
look down there at your foot.

In the same way, you are not separate from the universe at all. You are
just in a very tiny corner with eyes and a brain and look at the rest of
yourself and say "I am here and the universe is there." But you are not
separate from it at all. You are part of it all. You are made of it. You
came from it and will go back to it. Just like a wave arises from the
ocean and then breaks at the beach and is absorbed back into the ocean.
You were always ocean. You just decided for a short while to see
yourself as a wave. You are just a tiny piece of the universe that has
the temporary ability to look at itself and contemplate itself.

It is as simple as that!

-- Brian William Drisko, 16-Jan-2009 2206
[email protected]

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