SAN FRANCISCO--Every once in a while, scientists make quantum leaps in technology. Researchers at MIT may have done just that recently when they showed off a new state of magnetism which could lead to quantum communication and storage.
Quantum communication, based on quantum entanglement, which does not rely on information transmission, would be a near instantaneous way of propagating information. The change in the state of one particle would simply change the state of another particle.
Meanwhile, quantum storage is another way to store data on a much smaller scale, allowing significantly larger amounts to be stored in the same amount of space.
The new magnetism purportedly comes from a synthetically grown crystal by the name of herbertsmithite, which acts as a quantum spin liquid. This means that miniscule quantum states can form inside the solid crystal which imitates liquid flux for magnetic orientations.
MIT physicists grew this pure crystal of herbertsmithite in their laboratory. This sample, which took 10 months to grow, is 7 mm long (just over a quarter-inch) and weighs 0.2 grams.
Image: Tianheng Han.
For now, however, the work remains highly theoretical, and MIT researchers claim it may be quite a while before the fruits of the research become useful in the real-world technology space.
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