A breakthrough in studying light might just be the ticket to the future of quantum computing. Researchers at EPFL have found a way to determine how light behaves beyond the limitations of wavelengths, opening the door to encoding quantum data in a sci-fi style holographic light pattern.
The team took advantage of the quantum nature of the interaction between electrons and light to separate beams in terms energy, not space — that let them use light pulses to encrypt info on the electron wave and map it with a speedy electron microscope.
Existing techniques for both studying light and extracting 3D info are inherently limited by the size of wavelengths. This allows a considerably higher resolution that can even include holographic movies of fast-moving objects.
The approach is still very early and might not reach quantum computers for a long time. However, it does hint at a future where you could have secure yet small quantum processors. Existing quantum computers tend to be giant, room-sized affairs — there’s no guarantee EPFL’s design will lead to something that fits on your desk or in your pocket, but it’s a step in the right direction.