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One of the defining characteristics of quantum objects is their ability to change from an excited state to a ground state without passing through any intermediate states.

The consequences of quantum jumps fill our world: chemistry, for example, is essentially the science of quantum jumps.

But while it's easy to see the consequences of quantum jumps, it's much harder to catch them in the act.

In recent years, physicists have worked hard to actually watch while various quantum objects make a jump. They've done it for photons, electrons, trapped ions and atoms, even some molecules. It's not easy but it can be done

But they've never watched as a macroscopic object jumped from one energy level to another. That's not for lack of macroscopic quantum phenomenon; there are plenty to choose from, such as lasing and superconductivity.

All that changes today with an announcement by Rajamani Vijayaraghavan and buddies at the University of California, Berkeley, that they've watched a macroscopic quantum object jump for the first time.

The authors state on the first page of their paper, "This technique represents a major step forward for solid state quantum information processing, potentially enabling quantum error correction and feedback, which are essential for building a quantum computer. Our technology can also be readily integrated into hybrid circuits involving molecular magnets, nitrogen vacancies in diamond, or semiconductor quantum dots."

The potential technological applications of this are enormous, to say the least.  To read the rest of the article, click here.
Category: Science