Jigang Wang patiently explained his latest discovery in quantum control that could lead to superfast computing based on quantum mechanics: He mentioned light-induced superconductivity without the energy gap. He brought up forbidden supercurrent quantum beats. And he mentioned terahertz-speed symmetry breaking.

Then he backed up and clarified all that. After all, the quantum world of matter and energy at terahertz and nanometer scales - trillions of cycles per second and billionths of meters - is still a mystery to most of us.

"I like to study quantum control of superconductivity exceeding the gigahertz, or billions of cycles per second, bottleneck in current state-of-the-art quantum computation applications," said Wang, a professor of physics and astronomy at Iowa State University whose research has been supported by the Army Research Office. "We're using terahertz light as a control knob to accelerate supercurrents."

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