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Israeli Scientists Discover New Vortices Created by Colliding Photons

Israeli Scientists Make Quantum Discovery with Potential Impact on Quantum Computing.

In an exciting breakthrough that could transform quantum computing, Israeli scientists have discovered a new type of vortex formed when photons collide. This finding emerged during experiments aimed at quantum information processing at the Weizmann Institute in Rehovot.

Vortices, known for their swirling motion in phenomena such as draining water, hurricanes, and even galaxies, typically form when fast-moving regions meet slower areas. This discovery involves a similar concept but at the quantum level with photons, the fundamental particles of light.

The Weizmann Institute team, exploring quantum information processing, found these novel vortices unexpectedly. Quantum computing, leveraging the principles of quantum mechanics, operates on "qubits" rather than classical binary bits. Unlike bits, qubits can exist in multiple states simultaneously, enabling quantum computers to solve complex problems more efficiently.

Photon interactions, generally rare, were achieved through a unique experimental setup. The researchers used a 10 cm long glass container with a dense rubidium atom cloud at its center. By firing photons into this cloud and measuring their post-interaction state, they discovered significant mutual influences between the photons.

Professor Ofer Furstenberg explained the process: "Photons entering the dense gas excite atoms into Rydberg states, where electrons orbit at much larger diameters than usual, creating an electric field that affects surrounding atoms. This creates an effect akin to passing through a 'glass ball,' influencing the speed of other nearby photons."

When photons pass close to each other, their speeds change due to this interaction, ideally leading to a 180-degree phase shift. However, the researchers observed that at certain distances, pairs of vortices formed, completing a 360-degree phase change with minimal photons at their centers, similar to dark focuses seen in other vortices.

In further experiments, introducing a third photon revealed the vortices' three-dimensional nature, forming a vortex ring akin to smoke rings. This unexpected result adds a fascinating dimension to the team's research, initially aimed at quantum information processing.

The researchers plan to continue their exploration by directing photons towards each other to measure individual phase changes. The intensity of these changes could pave the way for using them as qubits, advancing quantum computing technology.

Discoveries like this highlight Israel's leadership in cutting-edge scientific research, showcasing the innovative spirit that drives progress and technological advancement. Share this article or subscribe to our newsletter to stay updated on groundbreaking developments in science and technology.