BREAKTHROUGH: Quantum Data Transfer –From Matter To Light

Quantum physics formulas over blackboard

logo_cnrslogo03 Qubits have only remained stationary until now. Researchers have successful created flying qubits that move at speeds never reached before…. This feat, achieved by a team from Polytechnique Montréal & France’s Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS), brings the state-of-the-art ever closer to the era when information is transmitted via quantum principles.

// Read Other Research Papers Curated by luvatfirstbyte

physical-review-letter-physical-review-letters-prl-cover-110318The achievement is the focus of a paper titled “High-Fidelity & Ultrafast Initialization of a Hole-Spin Bound to a Te Isoelectronic Centre in ZnSe” published recently in the prestigious scientific journal, Physical Review Letters.

Specifically, the creation of a qubit in zinc selenide, a well-known semi-conductor material, made it possible to produce an interface between quantum physics that governs the behavior of matter on a nanometre scale & even the transfer of information at the speed of light, thereby paving the way to producing quantum communications networks.

Classical Physics vs. Quantum Physics

In today’s computers, classical physics rules. Billions of electrons work together to make up an information bit: 0, electrons are absent & 1, electrons are present. In quantum physics, single electrons are instead preferred since they express an amazing attribute: the electron can take the value of 0, 1 or any superposition of these two states. This is the qubit, the quantum equivalent of the classical bit. Simply put, Qubits provide stunning possibilities for researchers.
An electron revolves around itself, somewhat like a spinning top. That’s the spin. By applying a magnetic field, this spin points up, down, or simultaneously points both up and down to form a qubit.  Better still, instead of using an electron, we can use the absence of an electron; this is what physicists call a “hole.” Like its electron cousin, the hole has a spin from which a qubit can be formed. Qubits are intrinsically fragile quantum creature, they therefore need a special environment.
Zinc Selenide, Tellurium Impurities: A World First

Zinc selenide, or ZnSe, is a crystal in which atoms are precisely organized. It is also a semi-conductor into which it is easy to intentionally introduce tellurium impurities, a close relative of selenium in the periodic table, on which holes are trapped, rather like air bubbles in a glass.
This environment protects the hole’s spin – our qubit – & helps maintaining its quantum information accurately for longer periods; it’s the coherence time, the time that physicists the world over are trying to extend by all possible means. The choice of zinc selenide is purposeful, since it may provide the quietest environment of all semiconductor materials.
philippe-st-jeanPhysMosaicA team effort lead by Phillipe St–Jean (far left) & Professor Sébastien Francoeur (left) of Polytechnique Montréal & CNRS of France,  generated photons from a laser to initialize the hole & record quantum information on it. To read it, he excites the hole again with a laser & then collects the emitted photons. The result is a quantum transfer of information between the stationary qubit, encoded in the spin of the hole held captive in the crystal, & the flying qubit – the photon, which of course travels at the speed of light.
This new technique shows that it is possible to create a qubit faster than with all the methods that have been used until now. Indeed, a mere hundred or so picoseconds, or less than a billionth of a second, are sufficient to go from a flying qubit to a static qubit, & vice-versa.

Although this accomplishment bodes well, there remains a lot of work to do before a quantum network can be used to conduct unconditionally secure banking transactions or build a quantum computer able to perform the most complex calculations. That is the daunting task which Sébastien Francoeur’s research team will continue to tackle.

Visit Polytechnique Montréal To Learn More


How Babies Learn Best

Element of surprise helps babies learn & retain basic knowledge better than any other method, Johns Hopkins researchers report. 


Infants have innate knowledge about the world, and when their expectations are defied, they learn best, researchers at Johns Hopkins University found.

In a paper that will be published Friday in the journal Science, cognitive psychologists Aimee E. Stahl and Lisa Feigenson demonstrate for the first time that babies learn new things by leveraging the core information with which they are born. When something surprises a baby, like an object not behaving the way she expects it to, she not only focuses on that object but ultimately learns more about it than from a similar yet predictable object.

“For young learners, the world is an incredibly complex place filled with dynamic stimuli. How do learners know what to focus on and learn more about, and what to ignore? Our research suggests that infants use what they already know about the world to form predictions. When these predictions are shown to be wrong, infants use this as a special opportunity for learning,” says Feigenson, a professor of psychological and brain sciences in the university’s Krieger School of Arts and Sciences.

Baby Video

“When babies are surprised, they learn much better, as though they are taking the occasion to try to figure something out about their world.”

RELATED REPORT  |   Why babies love (& learn from) magic tricks (NPR)

The study involved four experiments with pre-verbal 11-month-old babies, designed to determine whether babies learned more effectively about objects that defied their expectations. If they did, researchers wondered if babies would also seek out more information about surprising objects and if this exploration meant babies were trying to find explanations for the objects’ strange behavior.

First the researchers showed the babies both surprising and predictable situations regarding an object. For instance, one group of infants saw a ball roll down a ramp and appear to be stopped by a wall in its path. Another group saw the ball roll down the ramp and appear to pass—as if by magic—right through the wall.

When the researchers gave the babies new information about the surprising ball, the babies learned significantly better. In fact, the infants showed no evidence of learning about the predictable ball. Furthermore, the researchers found that the babies chose to explore the ball that had defied their expectations, even more than toys that were brand new but had not done anything surprising.

READ MORE  |  Your baby is doing little physics experiments all the time, according to new study (The Washington Post)

The researchers found that the babies didn’t just learn more about surprising objects—they wanted to understand them. For instance, when the babies saw the surprising event in which the ball appeared to pass through the wall, they tested the ball’s solidity by banging it on the table. But when babies saw a different surprising event, in which the ball appeared to hover in midair, they tested the ball’s gravity by dropping it onto the floor. These results suggest that babies were testing specific hypotheses about the objects’ surprising behavior.

“The infants’ behaviors are not merely reflexive responses to the novelty of surprising outcomes but instead reflect deeper attempts to learn about aspects of the world that failed to accord with expectations,” said Stahl, the paper’s lead author and a doctoral student in the Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences.

“Infants are not only equipped with core knowledge about fundamental aspects of the world, but from early in their lives, they harness this knowledge to empower new learning.”

The study was supported by the National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship.


Art Makes You Smart

brain_art copy

For many education advocates, the arts are a panacea: They supposedly increase test scores, generate social responsibility and turn around failing schools. Most of the supporting evidence, though, does little more than establish correlations between exposure to the arts and certain outcomes.

Research that demonstrates a causal relationship has been virtually nonexistent. However, researchers found after a multi-year study that strong causal relationships do in fact exist between arts education & a range of desirable outcomes.

They concluded visiting an art museum exposes students to a diversity of ideas that challenge them with different perspectives on the human condition. Expanding access to art, whether through programs in schools or through visits to area museums and galleries, should be a central part of any education curriculum.   

Read The Full Story  |

Study conducted by Daniel H. Bowen, Rice University postdoctoral fellow at the Kinder Institute, Brian Kisida, senior research associate & Jay P. Greene, education reform professor of University of Arkansas.