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Physics World 2021 Breakthrough of the Year

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NIST researchers entangled the beats of these two mechanical drums — tiny aluminum membranes each made of about 1 trillion atoms — and precisely measured their linked quantum properties. Entangled pairs like this (as shown in this colorized micrograph), which are massive by quantum standards, might someday perform computations and transmit data in large-scale quantum networks.

Credit: J. Teufel/NIST

The Physics World 2021 Breakthrough of the Year goes to two independent teams for entangling two macroscopic vibrating drumheads, thereby advancing our understanding of the divide between quantum and classical systems. The winners are Mika Sillanpää and colleagues at Aalto University, Finland and the University of New South Wales, Australia, together with a team led by John Teufel and Shlomi Kotler of the US National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST).


Created December 14, 2021, Updated January 31, 2023