Author:Magnuson, Stew

Quantum technology is the manipulation of neutrons, photons, electrons and protons to perform a task.

These particles, or "qubits," are the building blocks of matter and understanding how to use them is made all the more difficult because they don't always behave the way one would expect. "Weird" and "spooky" are terms often used to describe how these particles act.

Here are a couple definitions to help "untangle" a field of science that is often hard to grasp, but may have profound implications for the national security community.

Entanglement--Said to be one of the most difficult concepts in science to grasp, quantum entanglement is the underlying science behind quantum computing, encryption and communication. One of the rules is that a particle such as a photon exists in all possible states when unobserved but only one state when observed. Entanglement occurs when two particles interact physically. This can be manipulated by shooting a laser through a photon to split it, then sending the pair apart. While the two particles may be separated by vast distances, they somehow remain linked through what Albert Einstein called "spooky action." They behave the same way even though they could be hundreds of kilometers apart.

Air Force Research Laboratory researchers believe these entangled correlations may one day allow it to create large-scale communications and sensing networks. "We're very interested in all aspects of this, both ground communications, ground-to-air communications and of course air-to-space communications to solve Air Force problems," said Michael Hayduk, AFRL's deputy director of the information directorate.

Meanwhile, the Chicago Quantum Exchange led by the University of Chicago intends to create the...

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