PolygamousRanchKid quotes LiveScience: A laser pulse bounced off a rubidium atom and entered the quantum world — taking on the weird physics of “Schrodinger’s cat.” The laser pulses didn’t grow whiskers or paws. But they became like the famous quantum-physics thought experiment Schrodinger’s cat in an important way: They were large objects that acted like the simultaneously dead-and-alive creatures of subatomic physics — existing in a limbo between two simultaneous, contradictory states.

“In our experiment, the [laser cat] was sent to the detector immediately, so it was destroyed right after its creation,” said Bastian Hacker, a researcher at the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics in Germany, who worked on the experiment. But it didn’t have to be that way, Hacker told Live Science.

“An optical state can live forever. So if we had sent the pulse out into the night sky, it could live for billions of years in its [cat-like] state.” That longevity is part of what makes these pulses so useful, he added. A long-lived laser cat can survive long-term travel through an optical fiber, making it a good unit of information for a network of quantum computers…
In the new experiment, described in a paper published Jan. 14 in the journal Nature Photonics, researchers created laser pulses that are in superposition between two possible quantum states. They called the little pulses “flying optical cat states….”

“Cat states can encode quantum information in a way that allows [us] to detect optical loss and correct for it. Although every optical transmission has losses, the information can be transmitted perfectly.”

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Source:: Slashdot