Photon entanglement is one of the odder properties of quantum physics, but it promises a lot for computing. If one photon can instantly affect another no matter how far away it is, you could make super-speedy computers and communications that aren't easily limited by physical distances.
It hasn't been easy to get entanglement tech down to a manageable size, however, and that's where Italy's Università degli Studi di Pavia might just come to the rescue. Its researchers have developed a tiny emitter that could pump out entangled photons as part of an otherwise ordinary silicon chip.
The device, which uses a ring shape to both rope in and emit light, measures just 20 microns across. That's hundreds of times smaller than existing devices, which are comparatively gigantic at a few millimeters wide. Chip makers usually work on the nanometer scale - Intel's new 14 nm processors are far more intricate than this ring. So, this breakthrough isn't going to change semiconductors overnight, but it could make quantum computing more of a practical reality.