Boffins may make a quantum breakthrough

fatter catA team of boffins at the University of Chicago has announced it has developed a way to observe, control, and manipulate the behaviour of a single electron with the help of lasers.

In terms of quantum physics, this is a way of telling if Schrodinger’s cat is really dead or alive, or just has escaped the box and is asleep on a soft bed somewhere.

An electron is an elementary subatomic particle that is a fundamental constituent of matter, having a negative charge. It is found in all atoms and acts as the primary carrier of electricity in solids.

To manipulate a single electron at the quantum level the researchers used a laser light in ultra-fast pulses which in turn managed the quantum state of an electron inside a nanosecond defect, which is naturally found in diamonds.

The method used was also able to observe and track the properties of the single electron, as well as how the electron changes over a set period of time.

David Awschalom, who led the project, said that his research was a precursor for creating and developing semiconductor “quantum bits” and other microscopic technology and molecular powered computing which would increase computer speeds dramatically.

It would also mean that scientists will finally be able to find that pesky cat.