According to Humans Invent the breakthough allows quantum computers to exchange data at the speed of light along optical fibres. Lead researcher on the project Tracy Northup said that the method allows the mapping of quantum information faithfully from an ion onto a photon.
Northup’s team used an “ion trap” to produce a single photon from a trapped calcium ion with its quantum state intact using mirrors and lasers. No potential cats were injured in the experiment. The move enables boffins to start to play with thousands of quantum bits rather than just a dozen or so. This means that they can get a computer to do specific tasks like factoring large numbers or a database search, faster.