Science Daily reports:
An international team of researchers, directed by researchers from the Institute for Quantum Optics and Quantum Information of the Austrian Academy of Sciences, and with participation from the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, has managed to create an entanglement of 103 dimensions with only two photons. The record had been established at 11 dimensions. The discovery could represent a great advance toward the construction of quantum computers with much higher processing speeds than current ones, and toward a better encryption of information.
The states in which elementary particles, such as photons, can be found have properties which are beyond common sense. Superpositions are produced, such as the possibility of being in two places at once, which defies intuition. In addition, when two particles are entangled a connection is generated: measuring the state of one (whether they are in one place or another, or spinning one way or another, for example) affects the state of the other particle instantly, no matter how far away from each other they are.
Scientists have spent years combining both properties to construct networks of entangled particles in a state of superposition. This in turn allows constructing quantum computers capable of operating at unimaginable speeds, encrypting information with total security and conducting experiments in quantum mechanics which would be impossible to carry out otherwise.
Until now, in order to increase the "computing" capacity of these particle systems, scientists have mainly turned to increasing the number of entangled particles, each of them in a two-dimensional state of superposition: a qubit (the quantum equivalent to an information bit, but with values which can be 1, 0 or an overlap of both values). Using this method, scientists managed to entangle up to 14 particles, an authentic multitude given its experimental difficulty.