US scientists have developed an atom trap, a device that can hold hundreds of atoms in a 3D optical lattice array, which they say is an important stepping stone to one day building a bona fide quantum computer.
From the article:
In the past, researchers have used optical lattices to trap millions of atoms. "The difference in what we're doing in this apparatus is that we have a large array where we can observe each individual atom," Weiss says. Until now, the only lattices where individual atoms were visible were one-or two-dimensional arrays, and contained only a handful of atoms.
In the new study, though, the team used three lasers arranged at right angles to create a 3D lattice in which they trapped 250 atoms of cesium.
I look forward to the day we break reality wide open with a freaky quantum computer. I've heard stories that, in theory, a quantum computer can be set to perform tasks even when they're turned off... or that quantum computers across all possible realities of said computers could come to deliver power far in excess of the single computer... my brain hurts...
Atom trap is a step toward a quantum computer [New Scientist]