Ion Duet Entangled with Electric Field
With quantum mechanics, we can make particles to all sorts of otherwise impossible things, but also because of quantum mechanics, this is very difficult to achieve and maintain. Scaling a quantum effect up is even more difficult, as so often the technology required is difficult to produce. Researchers at NIST though have recently managed to entangle a pair of ions electrically and using technology found in computers.
Entanglement is a quantum mechanics phenomenon which has the properties of multiple particles so strongly correlated that knowing the state of one particle, determines the state of the other(s). It is also one of the phenomena that are crucial to quantum technologies now and in the future. To entangle the beryllium ions they were first put in an electric-field trap, in different zones. By holding the ions in different zones, it is possible to tune the interactions between the particles, which is an important feature for quantum technologies. The researchers then forced the ions to exchange a single quantum of vibrational energy and entangled the ions' spins using lasers and microwaves.
The use of an electric field to trap the ions is important to this research as the technology involved could potentially be fabricated similarly to modern computer components, making it possible to scale up the system. Potentially a scaled-up version could be used to create quantum simulators, precise sensors, and even be used in quantum computers.