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Quantum Memories May Lead to Faster, More Secure Computers

By ­niversity of Delaware

April 1, 2010

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Future communications networks could be based on quantum memories, which store data in a pulse of light and are the focus of research by University of Delaware professor Virginia Lorenz. Since in a quantum memory the bits of information can exist as 1 and 0 simultaneously, the memory can store the properties of a quantum particle in both states.

Quantum memories' potential advantages to computing include secure communication, as quantum states can be used to transmit information in a manner that thwarts undetected eavesdropping. Another benefit of quantum memories is faster processing.

Lorenz and colleagues at the University of Oxford recently co-authored the Nature Photonics article, "Towards High-Speed Optical Quantum Memories." The researchers have constructed a prototype quantum memory that encodes information in an ultrafast flash of laser light, with a large number of gaseous atoms used as the storage medium. The next step in the quantum memory project involves the storage and retrieval of a photon.

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