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“Quantum Information” is an attractive and informative introduction to cutting-edge quantum physics technology for high school and undergraduate students. The poster highlights ongoing research into the tiny building blocks of our universe.
Quantum physics describes the world of the very small: atoms, electrons, light. The quantum world is strange. One example of this is illustrated by the picture at the top left of the poster: do you see 6 cubes, or 10? Just as your mind can interpret the image in two different ways, quantum systems can be in multiple states at once. This is called a superposition.
Look again: at any instant your mind picks a cube orientation, and the contradiction vanishes. Quantum superpositions are similarly fragile. Measurement, meaning an interaction with the outside world, causes a quantum system to “collapse” to one of its component states.
Most information is stored in relatively large structures--books, text messages, DNA, computers. Quantum information is information stored in very small structures called qubits. Qubits can be made from any quantum system that has two states. In the image in the poster, these states are depicted as electron orbits in an atom.
Because of the principle of superposition, qubits, unlike the “classical bits” in your computer, can be in both their possible states at once. This opens up exciting new possibilities in information technology.
Scientists are using quantum physics to:
“Quantum Information” Poster
Explanations of quantum information physics are interspersed with clear, detailed graphics and images.
Get the “Quantum Information” Poster!
Joint Quantum Institute
The Joint Quantum Institute is a partnership between the National Institute of Standards and Technology and the University of Maryland. It was created in 2006 to pursue theoretical and experimental studies of quantum physics in the context of information science and technology.
More About JQI and Quantum Information
Quantum Mechanics information on APS’s outreach website.
PhysicsCentral: Quantum Mechanics
2012 Nobel Prize
The 2012 Nobel Prize in Physics was awarded to two physicists for fundamental discoveries in quantum information.
“Quantum Information” was designed jointly by APS and JQI.
Text and images: Emily Edwards, JQI
Editing: Gabriel Popkin, APS
Design: Emily Edwards, JQI and Nancy Bennett-Karasik, APS