Quantum entanglement can be too much of a good thing

An overdose of the spooky connection can break down quantum computing systems, researchers find

3:19pm, March 23, 2009

Physicists have long thought that quantum entanglement, a mysterious link between separated particles that Einstein called “spooky action at a distance,” would allow quantum computers to solve certain hard math problems much faster than ordinary computers. But now it seems that entanglement can also be a nuisance.

Instead of speeding up the process, too much entanglement can break down the entire system, researchers report in a paper to appear in Physical Review Letters.

Entanglement occurs when quantum particles of energy or matter — such as atoms, ions or photons — interact, becoming intimately connected regardless of how far apart they later become. When two objects are entangled, their properties are mutually related.

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