In a new feat of quantum-scale manipulation, physicists have joined five photons in a condition of mutually linked properties called entanglement.
Jian-Wei Pan of the University of Science and Technology of China in Hefei and his colleagues achieved this complex state by firing an intense laser beam into a collection of crystals, mirrors, and detectors.
Five is a magic number in this context because entanglement of that many or more photons or other particles would enable a future quantum computer to find and eliminate random errors in its data, Pan says. Five-particle entanglement also makes possible a previously unrealizable scheme for transferring quantum data—which can have odd characteristics, such as representing several numbers at once.
Note: To comment, Science News subscribing members must now establish a separate login relationship with Disqus. Click the Disqus icon below, enter your e-mail and click “forgot password” to reset your password. You may also log into Disqus using Facebook, Twitter or Google.