Quantum mechanics

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The microprocessors on this wafer of silicon have transistors measuring in the nanometres. Shutterstock

Electronics are getting small, and that is causing big problems

As the components in electronic devices are shrinking to the nanoscale, even a single atom out of place can disrupt their function. But this also presents an opportunity to make them even better.
Binary systems are not enough if you want to improve security. Flickr/Ivan Plata

Beating cyber criminals with quantum solutions

As hackers get more sophisticated in their cyber crime efforts we need to look to new technology to make our systems more secure, and potentially unhackable. So how can quantum physics help?
If kitty goes in, will she really be alive and dead? Robert Couse-Baker/Flickr

Schrödinger’s cat gets a reality check

It’s a century-old debate: what is the meaning of the wave function, the central object of quantum mechanics? Is Schrödinger’s cat really dead and alive? I was recently involved in an experiment conducted…
Let’s take a look back through the past 12 months of quantum physics research. sharyn morrow/Flickr

Computing, uncertainty … quantum leaps and bounds of 2014

The past year has provided some of the most interesting developments in quantum mechanics to date. The field is more than 100 years old and has been tested to unimaginable precision, yet some of its most…
Many different worlds but a finite number. Flickr/fdecomite

When parallel worlds collide … quantum mechanics is born

Parallel universes – worlds where the dinosaur-killing asteroid never hit, or where Australia was colonised by the Portuguese – are a staple of science fiction. But are they real? In a radical paper published…
It’s mind-blowing stuff, but Einstein wasn’t completely convinced by quantum mechanics. Travis Morgan/Flickr

Einstein vs quantum mechanics … and why he’d be a convert today

Albert Einstein may be most famous for his mass-energy equivalence formula E = mc2, but his work also laid down the foundation for modern quantum mechanics. His analysis of the “spookiness” of quantum…
Frustrated by battery drain? A new superfast charger is still a couple of years off … but it’ll be more environmentally friendly than the toxic batteries we use today. rpavich/Flickr

Peptide power: the science behind the 30-second phone charger

If you’re one of the thousands of smartphone users experiencing battery drain, you’d have been pleased to read that Tel Aviv-based start-up StoreDot recently unveiled a prototype charger that fully charges…
Bigger inside, says science. Ian West/PA

Might some of Doctor Who actually be possible?

As Doctor Who’s 50th anniversary looms, time travel is everywhere – on the screen, at least. Famously, the Doctor can whizz through the years using a “dimensionally transcendental” machine, the TARDIS…
Revelations of a quantum world. ox4photos

X-ray vision for road diggers: the next quantum leap?

Quantum mechanics has been hailed as the next big thing in technology. And quantum computers are a media favourite. But there is a little-known quantum technology that can peer beneath the earth, which…
We thought we knew the radius of the proton to within 0.8%. Perhaps not. Ludie Cochrane/Flickr

Updating the textbook: is the radius of a proton wrong?

Striving for agreement between theory and experiment and pushing the boundaries of precision are important parts of the scientific process. With each step in this process we move closer to enlightenment…

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