Quantum Physics

   

Atomic Cousins Team Up

Authors: George Rajna

Large-scale quantum computers, which are an active pursuit of many university labs and tech giants, remain years away. But that hasn't stopped some scientists from thinking ahead, to a time when quantum computers might be linked together in a network or a single quantum computer might be split up across many interconnected nodes. [26] Researchers from the University of Pennsylvania, in collaboration with Johns Hopkins University and Goucher College, have discovered a new topological material which may enable fault-tolerant quantum computing. [25] The central idea of TQC is to encode qubits into states of topological phases of matter (see Collection on Topological Phases). [24] One promising approach to building them involves harnessing nanometer-scale atomic defects in diamond materials. [23] Based on early research involving the storage of movies and documents in DNA, Microsoft is developing an apparatus that uses biology to replace tape drives, researchers at the company say. [22] Our brains are often compared to computers, but in truth, the billions of cells in our bodies may be a better analogy. The squishy sacks of goop may seem a far cry from rigid chips and bundled wires, but cells are experts at taking inputs, running them through a complicated series of logic gates and producing the desired programmed output. [21] At Caltech, a group of researchers led by Assistant Professor of Bioengineering Lulu Qian is working to create circuits using not the usual silicon transistors but strands of DNA. [20] Researchers have introduced a new type of "super-resolution" microscopy and used it to discover the precise walking mechanism behind tiny structures made of DNA that could find biomedical and industrial applications. [19] Genes tell cells what to do—for example, when to repair DNA mistakes or when to die—and can be turned on or off like a light switch. Knowing which genes are switched on, or expressed, is important for the treatment and monitoring of disease. Now, for the first time, Caltech scientists have developed a simple way to visualize gene expression in cells deep inside the body using a common imaging technology. [18]

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[v1] 2017-07-13 09:07:27

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