Researchers led by Pennsylvania State University professor David S. Weiss performed a specific single quantum operation on individual atoms in a P-S-U pattern on three separate planes stacked within a cube-shaped configuration. The team then utilized crossed laser light beams to selectively sweep away the atoms that were not targeted for that operation, and produced photos of the results by successively focusing on each of the cube's planes. The pictures are the sum of 20 implementations of this process, and they display bright spots where the atoms are in focus and fuzzy spots if they are out of focus in an adjacent plane.
The images demonstrate both the success of the method and the comparatively small number of targeting errors. Weiss says the technique highlights the potential for using atoms as the building blocks of circuits in future quantum computers. "Our result is one of the many important developments that still are needed on the way to achieving quantum computers that will be useful for doing computations that are impossible to do today, with applications in cryptography for electronic data security and other computing-intensive fields," Weiss says.
A future research goal is to coax the quantum bits to "have entangled quantum wave functions where the state of one particle is implicitly correlated with the state of the other particles around it," Weiss says.
From Pennsylvania State University
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