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Tracking the Flow of Quantum Information


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data rain spout, illustration

Credit: Yale

Yale University researchers have developed a formula for understanding where quantum objects land when they are transmitted, which they say provides insight for controlling open quantum systems in a range of situations. "Our result says that, in principle, we can engineer 'rain gutters' and 'gates' in a system to manipulate quantum objects, either after they land or during their actual flow," says Yale researcher Victor Albert.

The gutters and gates represent the idea of dissipation, a process that can sometimes be engineered to control and protect fragile quantum properties. The researchers used those mechanisms to formulate the probability of quantum objects landing in one spot or the other. The formula also identified a situation in which superposition can never be sustained: when a quantum "droplet" in superposition has landed in one "puddle" already, but has not yet arrived at the other puddle.

"In other words, such a superposition state always loses some of its quantum properties as the 'droplet' flows completely into both puddles," Albert says. He says this aspect of the formula will be helpful in developing quantum computers.

From Yale University
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