Entangling Particles on a Budget


Microwave Entanglement

QSDWire – Gaithersburg, Maryland

The world of quantum physics is abuzz with the news that atoms have been entangled using microwaves. Physicists at the National Institute of Standards and Technology have developed a quantum “ion trap” technology which uses microwaves rather than lasers to entangle separate ions. Enthusiasm among quantum physicists is quite high, citing potential life-changing gains in the practical implementation of large-scale quantum computers.

Such enthusiasm pales, however, by comparison to the euphoria felt throughout the land of budget managers who dole out money to those who dabble in entanglement of those pesky ions. “Oh, this is fantastic!” says the budget manager of the NIST. “Do you know how much those lab lasers cost US taxpayers? It’s ridiculous! And this totally fine Haier microwave costs only $55 at amazon.com. This is awesome!”

I Present This Microwave To You Ms Quantum Scientist
What a $55 Haier Microwave may look like in an NIST laboratory. Also, what a quantum phisicist may look like. Which do you think is more likely?

“Well, budget Haier microwave ovens may be fine for the public sector,” claims an Ivy-leave budget manager who shall remain nameless, “but here in the university sector we do serious science. 700 watts just won’t do it, and I think our professors rate better.” A quick look down his nose towards his 12-Core Mac Pro with Thunderbolt Display and he smiles.  “Here, 1300 watts and even stainless steel.” A faraway look drifts into his eyes. “I think I can convince the trustees to pony up the $140…we can even use it to reheat stuff, like food.”

Ivy League Entanglement Via Microwaves
What a $140 stainless steel microwave oven may look like in an Ivy League lab…note the distinguished professor, likely tenured, and how happy he is (that’s how he looks when happy) at the new laboratory addition.

The private sector agrees. “Here at my start-up we’re going to be entangling a lot of particles,” says “Bob,” the founder of a yet-to-be-named start-up bursting with over $5 million in venture capital. “When the VC funds found out that we were entangling things, even playing around with particle spins (!), wow, they were impressed!” He smiles. “Lasers can cost tons of money. Not that we can’t afford it and everything, but with microwaves now we’ll have more funds left over to do stuff, like buy big monitors.” But he frowns when shown the government’s and even the university’s choice of entangling equipment. “I think our investors deserve more than Haier, more than Panasonic.”

Looks Like Your Entanglement Is Done
Hey Bob, it looks like your tofu burger…uh, I mean your particle quantum entanglement…is done. Better let the venture capitalists know.

“Here you go, twin-touch technology.” He whistles. “Boy, that’s sharp. I mean Sharp. Whatever. Twin-touching for more than one entangled particle at once. Now that’s value!” When it was pointed out that it takes more than one particle to entangle, he just shrugs. “With this money savings, who cares? The more particles, the more entanglement. Bring on the microwaves!”



 Hah! This one’s easy!

They’re not using consumer microwave ovens, silly! Errr, except for their coffee. And burritos. Definitely for their burritos.

But not quantum entanglement. No, never.  



January 29, 2012

And I quote: “we can even use it to reheat stuff, like food.”


January 29, 2012

One and done…we’re outta here…