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

d isolation in the wells and so eventually become entangled with a cloud of surrounding electrons in the device.

Tureci's collaborators in Switzerland tested the idea by projecting a laser beam on the device and measuring the light that was transmitted.

The light signature matched theoretical predictions. The researchers also found that they could use the light signatures to confirm when they turned the Kondo state off using a magnetic field.

"By doing this experiment," Tureci said, "we showed that you can extract this information that was previously unavailable in earlier experiments on the Kondo effect."

He said the finding could provide insight into quantum computing because entanglement, depending on its nature, could allow new ways of storing and processing information or could threaten to destabilize the computing process.

Whereas current computers use transistors to store "bits" of information as ones or zeros, scientists believe quantum computers might one day use trapped electrons that are entangled with one another as "qubits," the basic information units of quantum computing, which can have the odd quality of representing a blend of "one" and "zero" simultaneously.

A series of qubits could thus store exponentially more information than the 0 and 1 combination of classical bits.

While quantum computers could theoretically be far smaller and faster than transistor-based machines, using electrons or other sub-atomic particles as storage devices is no trivial feat.

The undesirable entangled relationship between electrons and their environment, such as that seen in the Kondo effect, can destabilize the desired relationship between trapped electrons that form the qubits and gradually destroy the information they store.

"Our technique offers a window into the Kondo state, allowing us a chance to study electrons that are highly entangled with their environments and understand how
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Contact: Chris Emery
cemery@princeton.edu
609-258-4597
Princeton University, Engineering School
Source:Eurekalert  

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