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Caltech Makes Quantum Drives a Possibility

Quantum entanglement is this strange property of certain particles at the subatomic level. In a nutshell, it means that if two or more objects are entangled, then observing one will immediately change the properties of the other, regardless of distance.

The most obvious use of entanglement, according to speculative fiction, seems to be interstellar communication. However, scientists at Caltech discovered a more practical application: data storage. Yes, in the future, hard drives will be powered by the principles of quantum mechanics.

The group, led by professors William Valentine and Prof H. Jeff Kimble, took 1 million Cesium atoms and arranged them in four groups a millimeter apart. Once the atoms were supercooled to near absolute zero, they were entangled using a technique the researchers had used before.

The entanglement state was then transferred from the ensembles via four read lasers shot past them. This process of storing, then retrieving specific spin states is what makes the concept of quantum-state a viable data storage future. Granted, it won't be replacing hard drives anytime soon, but it's nice to know that we can still miniaturize computers a lot more than what we thought possible.

[source: Caltech via New Electronics]