Physics News of the Week (December 2-9)

| December 10, 2012 | 0 Comments


Another week has gone by so let’s take a look at what was going on in the world of physics. As always, if you like to receive these news straight to your email every week, you join our email newsletter.

1. Quantum Thermodynamics or How Atoms Soak Up their Surroundings (December 4)

Throughout the last couple of years a tremendous effort was given to make a stronger connection between both quantum mechanics and general relativity and thermodynamics. Thus it’s nice to see progress in this field. This week the results of the best yet calculations of the effect of blackbody radiation on the wavefunction of Ytterbium atoms, which should help produce a better atomic clock, were released. A new calculation by scientists at the Joint Quantum Institute (JQI) and the University of Delaware shows how uncertainties in the blackbody radiation shift will soon impose limits on the accuracy of the best atomic clocks. To find the full article head here.

Einstein, Podolsky and Rosen 

2. Quantum Cryptography Goes Mainstream (December 5)

Researchers from Toshiba and the Department of Engineering have perfected a technique that offers a cheaper way to ensure the security of high-speed fibre-optic cables. Professor Richard Penty and his team at The Cambridge Research Laboratory succeeded in extracting the very weak signals used for quantum cryptography from ordinary telecom fibres transmitting data traffic. This means that existing telecom networks can now be secured with this ultimate form of encryption.Quantum cryptography can be used to distribute the secret digital keys important for protecting our personal data such as health records, digital identity and bank information. The method relies upon encoding each bit of the digital key upon a single photon. The main advantage of such method is that if a hacker intercepts the single photons, they will unavoidably disturb their encoding in a way that can be detected. For more check out this link.

3. First Confirmation of the Entanglement of Three Particles (December 6)

Physicists from the University of Waterloo and the University of Calgary have split a single photon into a pair of daughter photons and then split one of the daughter photons into a pair of granddaughters to create a total of three photons. The study marks the first experimental demonstration of energy-time entanglement of three or more individual particles, building on the original two-particle version proposed by Einstein, Podolsky, and Rosen. Full article here.

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