Authors: George Rajna
In early July, Google announced that it will expand its commercially available cloud computing services to include quantum computing. A similar service has been available from IBM since May.  Quantum computing is described as "just around the corner", simply awaiting the engineering prowess and entrepreneurial spirit of the tech sector to realise its full potential.  For the first time, physicists have demonstrated that hyperentangled photons can be transmitted in free space, which they showed by sending many thousands of these photons between the rooftops of two buildings in Vienna.  Now in a new study, physicists have cloned quantum states and demonstrated that, because the clones are entangled, it's possible to precisely and simultaneously measure the complementary properties of the clones.  Light particles (photons) occur as tiny, indivisible portions. Many thousands of these light portions can be merged to form a single super-photon if they are sufficiently concentrated and cooled.  The concept of temperature is critical in describing many physical phenomena, such as the transition from one phase of matter to another. Turn the temperature knob and interesting things can happen. But other knobs might be just as important for some studying some phenomena. One such knob is chemical potential, a thermodynamic parameter first introduced in the nineteenth century scientists for keeping track of potential energy absorbed or emitted by a system during chemical reactions.  For the first time, physicists have performed an experiment confirming that thermodynamic processes are irreversible in a quantum system—meaning that, even on the quantum level, you can't put a broken egg back into its shell. The results have implications for understanding thermodynamics in quantum systems and, in turn, designing quantum computers and other quantum information technologies.  Disorder, or entropy, in a microscopic quantum system has been measured by an international group of physicists. The team hopes that the feat will shed light on the "arrow of time": the observation that time always marches towards the future. The experiment involved continually flipping the spin of carbon atoms with an oscillating magnetic field and links the emergence of the arrow of time to quantum fluctuations between one atomic spin state and another.  Mark M. Wilde, Assistant Professor at Louisiana State University, has improved this theorem in a way that allows for understanding how quantum measurements can be approximately reversed under certain circumstances. The new results allow for understanding how quantum information that has been lost during a measurement can be nearly recovered, which has potential implications for a variety of quantum technologies. 
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[v1] 2017-08-24 07:10:42
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