(GizModo) What does Colorado-based startup ColdQuanta announcement that it has put “quantum matter on the cloud” mean?
The company’s goal is to make quantum matter more mundane. Physicist Dana Anderson, chief technology officer of ColdQuantasays they’re striving for the public to gain familiarity with the material and its behavior. They’d like people to be as comfortable with the idea of quantum matter as they are with the idea of a laser: to be able to picture it and how you might use it.
By “quantum matter,” ColdQuanta is referring to a collection of tens of thousands of rubidium atoms, cooled to near absolute zero. “On the cloud” means that by filling out an online application and gaining the company’s approval, you can poke and prod the atoms for free and from afar through its website.
These cold rubidium atoms, unlike the ones we palpate in everyday, room-temperature, macroscopic objects, exhibit distinctly quantum behavior. For example, they possess properties of both particles and waves.
The cold atoms sit in a small glass terrarium inside a ColdQuanta laboratory in Boulder, Colorado. Scientists and engineers have connected the lasers, magnets, and other hardware for manipulating the atoms to the internet, so you can literally fiddle with this odd mass by clicking buttons in your browser. ColdQuanta refers to this system—the atoms and their supporting hardware and software—as Albert.
Actions you can take with Albert from your own home: magnifying and imaging the rubidium atoms in their glass cell; turning on electromagnetic force fields inside the glass and imaging the atoms as they tunnel through those barriers; and cooling the atoms from a gas to another state of matter called a Bose-Einstein condensate.