June 22, 2024

Science - The Quantum Nobel Prize: And somehow impressive works - Knowledge

Science – The Quantum Nobel Prize: And somehow impressive works – Knowledge

BERLIN (dpa) – For experts, entangled quantities and their applications are nothing less than the key to the technical revolution. They make non-clickable phone calls, form the basis of incredibly fast computers and make it possible to send information literally. No wonder, then, that this year’s Nobel Prize in Physics is being awarded for fundamental work in the field of quantum mechanics.

In general, quantum entanglement is small particles that are connected in some way – even if they are separated from each other and then separated by several kilometers. If the state of one particle is measured, the state of the other particle is also determined automatically.

Data amounts are still very limited

And not only that: changing the state of one particle in a certain way affects the other particle, even though there is no connection between them. Emmanuel Bloch of the LMU in Munich told the German news agency (dpa).

Quantum states can also be transferred between particles – colloquially: teleportation. However, Bloch rejects hopes for radiation as in the Starship Enterprise series: “It is very likely that teleportation will never work because they are simply too complex.”

For a better understanding, physicist Tobias Meng from TU Dresden explains the entangled quantum phenomenon with twins separated always in the same mood. If you ask one of them about their safety and get a “good” answer, the other is fine too.

The theory is hard to digest

However, the twin example inadequately describes the so-called entanglement, said dpa’s Meng. Because the gist of it with quantum mechanics is: “All the metaphors you make using everyday examples don’t quite get to them in the end.” So the twins in the quantum world will be sad and happy at the same time, only at the time of the question will the mood be clear.

Although it is difficult to understand the theory behind the principles acquired by Frenchman Alain Aspect, American John Clauser, and Austrian Anton Zeilinger, the potential applications are impressive. “Quantum entanglement is like a new tool in the toolbox,” says Ming. One area of ​​application is so-called quantum computers. High hopes are placed on them because in some applications, they can calculate faster and more complex than today’s supercomputers.

Entangled quantum states offer the potential for new ways to store, transmit, and manipulate information. In the long run, it is not only a matter of an abstract academic question, but of concrete developments in computer technology that can no longer be achieved with the methods used up to now.

Not practical yet

Experts predict that quantum computers will be able to crack encryption that was previously considered completely secure. However, quantum computers are not yet practical, in part because they still lose information stored in them very quickly. Additionally, the systems are not portable because they must be cooled to near absolute zero, which is a laborious process.

Another area of ​​application is click-resistant communication – quantum cryptography using keywords. “I can transmit data securely because you will immediately notice if someone is listening to you and can then interrupt the transmission or not use the encryption key that was sent,” explains Bloch, who also works at the Max Planck Institute for Quantum Optics in Garching.

A few years ago, Zeilinger and his Chinese colleagues succeeded in making the first pressureless quantum video call over a long distance between Vienna and Beijing. According to the Austrian Academy of Sciences, the security of a video call was at least a million times higher than traditional encryption methods.

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