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Last week two research groups, one at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) in Boulder, Col., and one at the University of Oxford reported experiments in which particles of different species were entangled for the first time.

Entangled particles—whose quantum properties remain linked, even if separated (in principle) by intergalactic distances—will form the building blocks of future quantum computers. Up to now scientists have entangled photons, electrons, and ions of the same species.  The NIST group reported in the journal Nature that they successfully entangled magnesium ions and beryllium ions, and used the entangled pair to demonstrate two key quantum logic operations—CNOT and SWAP gates. The scientists at Oxford obtained a similar result with ions of calcium-40 and calcium-43, and also performed tests proving that showed that the pair were properly entagled. They, too, reported their results in Nature.

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