German scientists have succeeded in doing something unimaginable with light and atoms which will probably, maybe, one day lead to a real live quantum computer.
The Mainz Quantum Interface is so complicated to explain that only people with an IQ of over 190 can understand it, but from our cursory examination it appears to involve temperatures of just above absolute zero and levitating atoms 200nm above an incredibly thin glass fibre filament. Watch this space?
As was demonstrated by the researchers, this process is so efficient that only a couple of thousand atoms should suffice for a close to lossless transfer of quantum information between photons and atoms. Further possible applications of the Mainz quantum interface include the connection of different quantum systems. As an example, the trapped atoms could be brought into close vicinity of a superconducting quantum circuit in order to combine the advantageous properties of both systems. This would then be an important step towards the realization of a quantum computer.