Essential to Quantum Computing, Scientists Achieve Single-Photon Transmitter

A team of MIT and Harvard physicists have successfully turned a laser into a single beam of photons. The advance is essential to creating tomorrow's quantum computers. 

What's the Latest Development?

A team of MIT and Harvard researchers have successfully converted a laser, which is a bundle of light beams, into a single string of photons, representing a major step forward for quantum computing technology. "Senior author Vladan Vuletić...says the achievement 'could enable new quantum devices' such as quantum gates, where a single photon switches the direction of travel or polarization of another photon. This goal has been very hard to attain, Vuletić explains, because photons ordinarily interact, at best, only very weakly with one another."

What's the Big Idea?

Because quantum computers can, in theory, perform parallel operations (unlike contemporary chip-based computers which use linear logic), they could function more similarly to the human mind, solving complex computations much faster than today's machines. And because of the laws governing quantum operations, if a quantum computer were used for communication, it would be entirely immune from eavesdropping. "This work is an exciting new development in this direction," said Eugene S. Polzik, professor of physics at the Niels Bohr Institute at Copenhagen University and director of the Danish Center for Quantum Optics. "It paves the way towards new implementations of photon quantum logic."

Photo credit:

Understand your own mind and goals via bullet journaling

Journaling can help you materialize your ambitions.

  • Organizing your thoughts can help you plan and achieve goals that might otherwise seen unobtainable.
  • The Bullet Journal method, in particular, can reduce clutter in your life by helping you visualize your future.
  • One way to view your journal might be less of a narrative and more of a timeline of decisions.
Keep reading Show less

How to split the USA into two countries: Red and Blue

Progressive America would be half as big, but twice as populated as its conservative twin.

Image: Dicken Schrader
Strange Maps
  • America's two political tribes have consolidated into 'red' and 'blue' nations, with seemingly irreconcilable differences.
  • Perhaps the best way to stop the infighting is to go for a divorce and give the two nations a country each
  • Based on the UN's partition plan for Israel/Palestine, this proposal provides territorial contiguity and sea access to both 'red' and 'blue' America
Keep reading Show less

Car culture and suburban sprawl create rifts in society, claims study

New research links urban planning and political polarization.

Politics & Current Affairs
  • Canadian researchers find that excessive reliance on cars changes political views.
  • Decades of car-centric urban planning normalized unsustainable lifestyles.
  • People who prefer personal comfort elect politicians who represent such views.
Keep reading Show less