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With all of the current quantum computing chatter and, arguably, quantum hype, you'd think we had quantum computing figured at least to the point where we know what one will actually look like.

Not quite. Connecting qubits across meaningful distances—entangling them, that is—remains enormously tricky business. In a study released this week in Physical Review X, researchers from the Max Planck Institute for Quantum Optics describe a theoretical model for connecting distant qubits using sound in place of wires or fiber optics etc. The result, the group argues, is a new and improved "quantum bus" that can constructed at micrometer scales with existing technology.

"The realization of long-range interactions between remote qubits is arguably one of the greatest challenges in developing a scalable, solid-state quantum information architecture," the researchers note. "Here, we propose and analyze quantum sound in the form of surface-acoustic-wave phonons in piezoactive materials as a universal mediator for long-range spin-spin couplings instead of photons."

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