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Scientists shed light on the private lives of electrons
Date:6/30/2011

s decreases as temperature is lowered, but that was not the case with these metals.

The phenomenon was explained 30 years later by Japanese scientist, Jun Kondo, as resulting from the presence of cobalt or other magnetic impurities in the metals.

Scientists have further realized that the Kondo effect results from a relationship between electrons known as "entanglement" in which the quantum state of one electron is tied to those of neighboring electrons, even if the particles are later separated by considerable distances. In the case of Kondo effect, a trapped electron is entangled in a complex manner with a cloud of surrounding electrons.

Researchers have been intrigued by the Kondo effect in part because understanding how a trapped electron becomes entangled with its environment could help overcome barriers to quantum computing, which could lead to far more powerful computers than currently exist.

Previous observation methods allowed scientists to make measurements of the Kondo state, but could not provide information on how electrons developed such a relationship with their surroundings.

To better understand how an electron gradually becomes entangled in this manner with its environment, Tureci and his collaborators investigated the idea of using a laser to probe electrons evolving into the Kondo state. They first developed a theory about how laser light scattered off electrons could carry information about this process.

Depending on the state of the electron, they surmised, it should absorb different colors of laser light to varying degrees. The light reflected back would carry a signature of the entangled quantum state, offering a window into the relationship between the trapped electron and its environment.

To isolate the electrons, they proposed using nanostructured devices, small machines built one atom at a time that trap the electrons in small wells. The particles are only provided limite
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Contact: Chris Emery
cemery@princeton.edu
609-258-4597
Princeton University, Engineering School
Source:Eurekalert  

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