Researchers at the University of Rochester recently demonstrated how beams of light can actually levitate nanoscale diamonds. And while they're not actually suggesting that we construct a light-driven hoverboard made of the precious gems, the things we might be able to do with floating diamonds are pretty cool in their own right.
By shining a second light source on the diamonds and recording both their vibrations and the light these precious stones emit, it's possible to create a quantum computer. Project leader Nick Vamivakas describes this possibility in a paper regarding the experiment:
"...in theory we could encode information in the vibrations of the diamonds and extract it using the light they emit. Levitating particles such as these could have advantages over other optomechanical oscillators that exist, as they are not attached to any large structures. This would mean they are easier to keep cool and it is expected that fragile quantum coherence, essential for these systems to work, will last sufficiently long for experiments to be performed."
Vamivakas and his team have already demonstrated the ability to hold nanoscale diamonds in place for hours on end. It will be interesting to see what the future holds for their quantum computing experiments. Check out the video below to catch a glimpse of their work thus far.