back to article Boffins snare swollen 'excited giant' in forcefield prison

Boffins in Michigan say they have created a promising "quantum gate" for use in literally and figuratively hard-to-grasp quantum computers of the future. The scientists achieved this, put simply, by tickling a soft-metal Rubidium atom with frikkin laser beams until its outer valence shell became highly excited and the atom …


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  1. Annihilator


    "which are not 1 or 0 but could be either or any value between"

    As I understood it, they could be 1, 0 or both - not "any value between"

    But then I am using the term "understood" very very loosely indeed.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Quantum superposition

      Quantum superposition is rather more complex than that. I don't understand it myself, but it is, kind of, any number in between.

    2. ian 22


      It might be possible to understand and not understand- but only if you are not observed whilst doing so.


  2. Steve 13

    Either 0 or 1 - or any value between

    Maybe I'm fractionally incorrect on this, but isn't it either zero or one, full stop, period, no values between. That's the nature of quanti, either one state or the other, there is no middle ground.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      This is correct. They can be 0 or 1 or any value inbetween.It can be 1 or 0 or have a superposition.

  3. Misoriented

    It's a perfectly cromulent word

    A perfect opportunity to use "embiggen" wasted. So sad.

    The grammar nazi didn't seem appropriate. How about a grammar troll?

  4. Linker3000

    Stop the World

    I can't handle articles that contain the word 'electron' at the moment. I keep reading 'election'.

  5. B Parnell


    they can be 0, 1 or a superposition of both!

    see for more details

  6. Rocket

    I read that while sagely nodding

    Then I realised I hadn't taken in a word and was singing along to the radio instead.

    But in Quantum Physics I can do both.

    Pfft! I no kwantum fizzicks, me.

  7. Anonymous Coward


    "atom-bulgening ponderomotive field prison" - I'm quite sure they made that up. Must've. Boffinry these days...

    But I'm sure HMPS will want several right away for terrists and such. Frikkin' lasers are teh awesome.

  8. DJV Silver badge


    Well, they may have tickled a Rubidium atom with laser beams and ensnared it in a crate made of interfering laser beams built by seizing the atom's embulgenated outer valence shell using a ponderomotive force field. But did they remember to reverse the polarity of the neutron flow at the same time? Enquiring minds want to know....

  9. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

    Angels of Mercy .... LOVE AIgents in Virtually Real Affairs and Programs with Private Pogrom.

    "The scientists achieved this, put simply, by tickling a soft-metal Rubidium atom with frikkin laser beams until its outer valence shell became highly excited and the atom swelled up to giant size - 100 times as big as normal, though obviously, being an atom, still pretty tiny. Atoms in this condition are known as "Rydberg" atoms, after the 19th century Swede famous for swelling to giant size after being hit by an energy ray his knowledge of exotic atoms." ...... Sounds like Instrumental Foreplay to Cosmic Erection and Orgasm ...... CyberPORN Feed with Need for Nymphs and Satyrs ..... Heap Powerful Apache Medicine, Tonto.

    And is IT Registered a Global Virtual Quantum Computer Base Build with Virtual Reality Play and Attraction?

    LOVE is a Drug and IT Gets You High ...... Hi, How High is High to be Real Deep and Sublimely Stealthy and Remarkably Satisfying ...... which sounds like a Magic Stash Alien Strain.

  10. H 5

    Quantum-Physics 101

    Steve13 : Look Up Quantum Super-Position.

    Cool, but a fully working desktop QPC is still in fantasy-land. Unless ofcourse you create a national liquid-nitrogen/helium network to keep every PC at ~0Kelvin

  11. LuMan
    Paris Hilton


    As much as I fear the inevitable annoyances of those pesky, interfering laser beams, I must confess to reading near on ten words which I never knew existed. I mean, where the HELL do those words come from?? You must have made a few up there. I mean, really, come on.

    Paris, 'cos even I must know more words than her...

  12. Alistair Wall

    a "ponderomotive force" field

    Named after the wizard Ponder Stibbins.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Who you gonna' call?

    Ponderomotive force field.

    Sounds like the same thing that they used to trap that slimy spook in Ghostbusters.

  14. Bassey


    Why do these articles always arrive on a Friday afternoon, when my mind is in a Quantum State (from my boss's point of view, I may be working or not working. It's not until I'm "observed" that I collapse into a working state). I would have struggled with that on a Tuesday morning. On a Friday afternoon it's enough to turn a man to drink. Talking of which, is it Beer O'clock yet?

  15. DJ 2
    Paris Hilton

    In the murky field of atoms and subatomic particles,

    Scientists get creative, Quarks have flavors.

    Qubits have Colours?



    case "1":

    return true;

    case "0":

    return false;

    case "1&0":

    return maybe;

    case "fuscia":

    return livingRoom;

    case parishiltonsunderwear:

    throw new GarmentNotKnownException();


    return "42";



  16. Martin.Hale

    Oh My...

    I'm relatively sure that none of the readers of this article are graduates of said "Michigan uni", since not one comment has roasted this author for failing to properly spell out University of Michigan. Not a big deal, in old Blighty to be sure, but mistaking the name in Michigan amounts to fightin' words for a lot of alums of the Berkeley of the Midwest.

    Q. You meet someone at a party - how would you know if they've graduated from U of M?

    A. Don't worry - give them 5 minutes and they'll tell you all about it.

    A brewski for Fridayski

  17. Red Bren

    The Lewis we know and love

    Nice to see you've got that nasty election out of your system! Or do we need one of these quantum computers to work out who won?

  18. Anonymous Coward

    Molesting Scientist?

    Is is just me... or is what they are doing sound dirty?.... using lasers to excite the atoms to start to swell....

  19. Dr Patrick J R Harkin

    Quantum science writing

    You can understand the individual words, or complete sentences, but not both at the same time.

  20. M Gale

    1 or 0?

    It's both until Simon gets a hold of the cat. After that, all bets are off.

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