Physicists have measured long-range quantum entanglement in special, topologically ordered phases of matter for the first time. This feat, which was achieved independently by two research groups using coupled superconducting circuits and arrays of atoms, could aid the development of robust memories for quantum computers.
When certain materials are cooled to extremely low temperatures, exotic phases of matter appear. These phases are very different from familiar states such as solids, liquids or gases, and the particles in them interact in ways that are dominated by quantum entanglement. This purely quantum-mechanical effect allows two or more particles to be more closely related than classical physics permits, and it has numerous applications within quantum computing. In many cases, however, realizing these applications means entangling these particles over long distances within a material – a situation that, while predicted in theory, had never been measured in an experiment until now.
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