An ultrathin invention could make future computing, sensing and encryption technologies remarkably smaller and more powerful by helping scientists control a strange but useful phenomenon of quantum mechanics, according to new research recently published in the journal Science.
Scientists at Sandia National Laboratories and the Max Planck Institute for the Science of Light have reported on a device that could replace a roomful of equipment to link photons in a bizarre quantum effect called entanglement. This device -- a kind of nano-engineered material called a metasurface -- paves the way for entangling photons in complex ways that have not been possible with compact technologies.
When scientists say photons are entangled, they mean they are linked in such a way that actions on one affect the other, no matter where or how far apart the photons are in the universe. It is an effect of quantum mechanics, the laws of physics that govern particles and other very tiny things.
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