The idea that the tiny electricity source in every solid structure, known as a quark, holds the key to quantum computing is a false one, and it was long ago shown by physicists who carry out tests in which the energy-particle interaction is switched off. This occurs as a quark and gluon (another subatomic particle) are tossed around inside the nucleus of an atom, and tests repeatedly show that they can absorb and discharge electrons, just as in a conventional atomic battery. Quarks and gluons obey general symmetry — they break only when they try to get too close to other quarks. They are also, as Kallir reminds us, the key to the Bose-Einstein condensate, and could even be the missing link in the construction of fast electronic devices.
Nevertheless, the idea that quarks are somehow hidden from scientists isn’t new. Back in the 1980s, Carl Sagan showed how quarks could somehow be using “their uniquely peculiar symmetry to hide itself — created and confirmed by the many-sided Newtonian symmetry” in a story entitled “Top Secret Phenomenon Is Harnessed by Quantum Mechanics.” He argued that we’re probably missing out on a lot of quantum physics right now because we’re using the wrong instrument. This backfired, but some quarks do, indeed, appear to have special properties, known as “instruments” — they’re powered by incredibly powerful energies rather than simply cooling down by quantum transitions.
When Chandra Bhushan demonstrated the ability of a quark-gluon converter to store information while retaining its unusual nature, he became the toast of physics. (As if it were necessary to be a great physicist to have succeeded in quantum computing.) But Bhushan had actually only achieved this through a long, difficult experiment in which he put a few of these accelerators into single pieces.
I’m a physicist and I’ve devoted much of my career to using extremely powerful laser pulses to split a laser beam into two smaller ones — an equation of error-corrected ratio. What’s less well understood is that this bursts of pulses end up spinning, generating an electric current and mechanical pressure. This makes it possible to create an alternating current through the coils, forcing the two pieces of instrument to interact. When this happens, something happens — the electrons that were trapped in an amplifier are freed, which also produces a current. This is a crucial step in the creation of quantum computing.
But as Kallir suggests, sometimes these quantum particles are produced at room temperature, which means that “quantum instruments are not portable.” A quark-gluon converter must, therefore, always be focused on a computer, at something like room temperature. But here again, Kallir argues, things are different — and again, he’s right.
The answer is to throw a new quark at the equation of error-corrected ratio. And that’s exactly what a team of physicists, led by Andrei Shleifer at the University of Buffalo, has been able to do. In a paper published in Nature, they demonstrate that the process of independent quark-gluon converter spinning can occur inside the Linac Coherent Light Source, a colossal space-electron laser built by the European Organization for Nuclear Research.
More importantly, they show that when one quark is confined to a particular electric field, its energy drops as a consequence. This means that when a laser beam is divided into two, two little quarks will then be fed back into the converter. And when this happens, the accelerators are suddenly freed, releasing electrons that were locked in any accelerator piece you could imagine, and then carrying them away forever.
The moment when the fluke happens, Kallir writes, is “lightning fast. It happens in a blink. Then it happens again.” And that could mean that data is sent out twice as fast.
Faster, stronger data transmission is the holy grail of quantum computing. As Kallir observes, “the more data we get, the less computing time we can fit into a day’s work.” The happy consequence, then, is that unless you’re trying to push the limit of quantum mechanics — that is, pushing the length of a bar of Swiss army marksmanship arrow by a trillionth of a second — you’ll end up with a data stream that’s essentially preprogrammed. But, at least, it’s fun to watch.