If there's one thing we love about technology, it's that we're able to control so much about everything we do in the world, it's, as Ricky Bobby one wisely put it, "it's not crazy to think I can live to be 245, maybe 300. Heck, I just read in the newspaper that they put a pig heart in some guy from Russia. Do you know what that means?" Truthfully we are so close to putting pig hearts in everyone these days that news of electron bouncing may have escaped our watchful gaze - luckily we happened across it, and the researchers at Cambridge University deserve all the credit. Electron control is the name of the game here folks, quantum computing the tool.
What's happened here is that Cambridge scientists doing this project have been able to take a high level of control over the path of an electron inside an electronic circuit. For the lay person, this is not an easy thing to do, especially when you've got an electron that doesn't normally go along a straight path, but moves back and forth across a current across a wire. What normally happens here instead is that, with all the moves back and forth, detours if you will, the electron will drop information, causing it to be basically useless for us super science thinking future-controllers.
Cambridge University scientists have taken control. They've trapped their electron in a "quantum dot", a small hole in a piece of gallium arsenide, right on the surface. Once trapped, they've created a channel of higher energy than all the rest of the surrounding electrons, this then leading to another dot that was until then empty. This continues, a burst of sound carrying the electron from one quantum dot to the next to the next and so on, this on what's called an "acoustic wave", moving on down the line.
Top boffin from the Semiconductor Physics Group, Chris Ford, had the following to say about this situation:
"There is a lot of work going on worldwide to make this new type of computer, which may solve certain complex problems much faster than classical computers. However, little effort has yet been put into connecting up different components, such as processor and memory. Although our experiments do not yet show that electrons 'remember' their quantum state, this is likely to be the case. This would make the method of transfer a candidate for moving quantum bits of information (qubits) around a quantum circuit, in a quantum computer." - Ford.
Science! Can't wait until we can actually USE this magic.
[via The Register]