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quantum physics

Chip with entangled photons

Laser beam (green) is accelerated in a resonator (light blue), producing entangled photons (red and dark blue)

University of PaviaLaser beam (green) is accelerated in a resonator (light blue), producing entangled photons (red and dark blue)University of Pavia

In a space millions of times smaller than the tip of a needle, nature behaves in a most curious manner. In this ultramicroscopic world, two or more particles can share a peculiar property known as quantum entanglement. For a long time, physicists and engineers have been trying to develop a source of entangled photons small enough to be inserted into a computer chip. An international group coordinated by researchers at the University of Pavia (Italy) seems to have conquered this challenge, creating a microscopic component that can ensure a continuous supply of these particles (Optica, February 2015). The study examined the potential of microring resonators, which work similarly to miniature particle accelerators. When laser beams are pointed at the equipment, the photons are pulled inside, where they proceed to spin extremely fast around the microring. This creates an ideal environment for photon entanglement. According to the researchers, a silicon source that emits entangled photons would represent an important advance for a wide range of technologies, particularly in the fields of telecommunications and quantum information.

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