Quantum computer core
Light rays passing through the nanoscale crystal core of a quantum computer. Quantum computers, which are under development, are based on quantum mechanics and the principle of representing information in quantum bits (qubits) using quantum properties. This could involve optical properties of chemically doped crystals, like the one shown here. Quantum computing has the potential to massively increase computing power.
Quantum mechanics is the description of the behavior of matter in all its details and, in particular, of the happenings on an atomic scale. Richard Feynman calls Quantum Mechanics as the ‘only mystery’ and as he aptly puts it “We cannot make the mystery go away by explaining how it works”. All that can be done is to tell you how it works...
Feynman says “Things on a very small scale behave like nothing that you have any direct experience about. They do not behave like waves, they do not behave like particles, they do not behave like clouds, or billiard balls, or weights on springs, or like anything you have ever seen”. Historically the electron was thought to behave like a particle and then it was found that in many respects to behave like a particle. Electrons behave just like light. The quantum behavior of atomic objects (electrons, protons, neutrons, photons and so on) is the same for all; they are all “particle waves”.
Much of modern technology applications such as the transistor, the microchip, the electron microscope, and magnetic resonance imaging. Operate at a scale where quantum effects are significant. The study of semiconductors led to the invention of the diode and the transistor, which are indispensable for modern electronics.
Some interesting research areas include quantum cryptography, for secure transmission of information, quantum computers, which are expected to perform certain computational tasks exponentially faster than classical computers and quantum teleportation, which deals with techniques to transmit quantum information over arbitrary distances. Flash memory chips found in USB drives use quantum tunneling to erase their memory cells.