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Physicists at the University of Sussex have found a way of using everyday technology found in kitchen microwaves and mobile telephones to bring quantum physics closer to helping solve enormous scientific problems that the most powerful of today's supercomputers cannot even begin to embark upon.

A team led by Professor Winfried Hensinger has frozen single charged atoms to within a millionth of a degree of absolute zero (minus 273.15°C) with the help of microwave radiation. This technique will simplify the construction of 'quantum technology devices' including powerful quantum sensors, ultra-fast quantum computers, and ultra-stable quantum clocks. Quantum technologies make use of highly strange and counterintuitive phenomena predicted by the theory of quantum physics.

"The use of long-wavelength radiation instead of laser technology to cool ions can tremendously simplify the construction of practical quantum technology devices enabling us to build real devices much faster," said Professor Hensinger.

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