Physicists around the world are searching for the best way to realize a quantum computer. Now scientists of the team around Stefan Kuhr and Immanuel Bloch at the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics (Garching/Munich) took a decisive step in this direction. They could address and change the spin of single atoms with laser light and arrange them in arbitrary patterns. In this way, the physicists strung the atoms along a line and could directly observe their tunnelling dynamics in a "racing duel" of the atoms.

Researchers at the University of Vienna in Austria and the Technische Universität München in Germany have reported their findings, which will solve a long-standing problem in the design of micro- and nanoelectromechanical resonators, in the journal Nature Communications. The research team developed a finite-element-based numerical solver capable of predicting the design-limited damping of almost arbitrary mechanical resonators to resolve this problem.

The 2011 QIPC Young Investigator Award will be presented to an outstanding young researcher in the field of Quantum Information Processing and Communication during the QIPC international conference at ETH Zürich, September 5-9, 2011.

The award consists of a diploma and a lump sum of 4000€.

The award will be given to a researcher under the age of 35 for the best research recently published or presented at a major conference. Eligible researchers must be less than 35 years old on the 1st of September 2011.

The original motivation to build a quantum computer came from Feynman, who imagined a machine capable of simulating generic quantum mechanical systems—a task that is believed to be intractable for classical computers. Such a machine could have far-reaching applications in the simulation of many-body quantum physics in condensed-matter, chemical and high-energy systems.

James Dacey at PhysicsWorld writes: ''In a fascinating case of physics being turned on its head, a group of researchers at Yale University in the US has created an "anti-laser" that almost perfectly absorbs incoming beams of coherent light. The invention is based on a theoretical study reported last summer in which Douglas Stone and his Yale colleagues claimed that such a system could be possible in a device that they call a coherent perfect absorber (CPA).

An EU-funded team of researchers has set out to provide mathematicians with their very own periodic table ... of shapes. Researchers at Imperial College London (ICL) in the UK are collaborating with colleagues in Australia, Japan and the Russian Federation to identify the basic building blocks of all possible shapes in the universe across three, four and five dimensions, and analyse how these components relate to each other.

Belle Dumé at NanotechWeb writes: ''A new way to make complete and programmable logic circuits that combine both memory and logical processing in a single structure has been unveiled by physicists in Germany. Such structures could lead to smaller, faster and more energy-efficient integrated circuits and their development has been one of the main goals in spintronics – a relatively new technology that exploits the spin of an electron as well as its charge.

The electronic chips of the future might not be made of silicon or even graphene but of a material called molybdenite (MoS2). EU-funded research presented in the journal Nature Nanotechnology demonstrates that molybdenite is a highly effective semi-conductor that could be used to make transistors both smaller and more energy efficient.

James Dacey writes at PhysicsWorld: ''An international research group claims to have taken an essential step towards silicon-based quantum computing by entangling 10 billion identical quantum bits, or "qubits", inside a silicon crystal. This is the first time that "ensemble entanglement" has been demonstrated in a solid-state device, they claim. Where conventional computers store data as "bits" with value 1 or 0, in quantum computing data is stored as "qubits", which can hold more than one value at the same time.

Jon Cartwright at PhysicsWorld writes: ''Two independent groups have demonstrated how a pair of entangled photons can transfer their entanglement to and from a solid – the process that should one day form the backbone of so-called quantum memories or repeaters. These devices would enable quantum communication systems to transmit information over larger distances, with significantly reduced degradation.''