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If you were a teenager and somebody on the internet told you that you could make hundreds of dollars a week simply by dropping things off at the post office, you would listen. And that’s exactly what’s happening on TikTok as “hustling” teens turn to drop shipping fake AirPods as a lucrative revenue stream.

Head below for an in-depth look at the process, and Apple’s tips for how to protect yourself…

AirPods are one of the most popular Apple accessories; one would be hard-pressed to go a block in Manhattan without seeing at least five people enjoying music from their AirPods. They have become so popular that super clones have started to emerge, clones so close in appearance that many people would have trouble figuring out if they were real. Despite being nearly identical in appearance, these clones are entirely different on the inside.

The method

TikTok is filled with “hustlers” recommending methods to make some money on the side, and recently the selling of AirPods has been the large majority of these videos. Here’s the method; one buys replica AirPods from sites such as PandaBuy, AliExpress, and Alibaba and sells them on eBay, Offerup, Craigslist, etc., as genuine.

It’s illegal

If these AirPods were real, there would be no issue, but of course, these are replica AirPods made in sweatshops in China. They are made under poor regulations and don’t have the same drivers, microphone, silicon, or battery. These devices are going in people’s ears, and due to poor regulation, they can be extremely dangerous, with reports of fires and melting prevalent all over the internet.

However, these are illegal to sell. US officials recently cracked down on the importation of 1000 pairs of fake AirPods Pro, and this is just a tiny fraction of the illegal AirPods that are imported. They are filled with stolen intellectual property and copyright infringement. Also, selling fake AirPods as genuine constitutes fraud, even if they are “1:1.”

Despite this, my TikTok For You Page is stacked with different people trying to sell fake AirPods or trying to sell the method to sell fake AirPods. And these aren’t adults, most are teenagers, some looking like they could be barely thirteen.​​ These young teens tell about their experiences selling fake AirPods, and with no guilt or regard for the law, they talk about how they scam innocent people out of their hard-earned money.

Why it’s so hard to tell

Even for somebody well-versed in tech, telling these replica AirPods from genuine AirPods is challenging. There are three main reasons for this, outside appearance, H1 cloning, and serial number spoofing. When you buy replica AirPods, you would see the genuine-looking box and packaging, open it up to see real-looking AirPods, open the AirPods, and see the same H1 pairing experience.

If you checked Apple’s website and typed in the serial number, it would say they were genuine. That’s right; the clones have a replica H1 chip with nearly complete functionality. The serial number is also “genuine.” They take the serial number off a real pair of AirPods and print it on the back of thousands of replica AirPods.

Due to this scam, when somebody checks Apple’s website, they see that the serial number is listed as genuine. Because it is hard to tell if they are authentic, these teenagers are not worried about the legal repercussions.

What you can do

There are a few things you can do to keep yourself safe. If you suspect your AirPods are replicas, you can visit your Apple Store, and they will check for you. While it’s a shame, I cannot recommend buying second-hand AirPods from sites such as eBay, Offerup, Craigslist, Facebook Marketplace, and Mercari because the places are filled with these replica AirPods.

I spoke to an Apple retail employee who wishes to remain anonymous, and they said that these are the best ways to keep yourself safe when buying AirPods.


AirPods do not come with plastic wrapping. Instead, they now use a pull tab

Apple’s boxes will be seamless, and there will be no visible cardboard

The printing on the box should be high quality

The image on the front is embossed, and you should be able to feel the height difference

There should be a 1-meter lightning to USB-C cable, and with AirPods Pro, there should be replacement ear tips

Inspecting the device

If you run your finger over the back of the pairing button, you should not feel an increase or decrease in height

The pairing button should be firm and tactile, and below the hinge, it should say Designed by Apple in California and assembled in either China or Vietnam, depending on the model

The hinge should open smoothly and silently and should also be highly rigid

There should be no visible seams or marking on the AirPods

The ear tips should have small XS, S, M, and L markings

The employee says that despite these methods, the best way to avoid purchasing counterfeit AirPods is by going through Apple or an Apple Authorized Reseller and not looking for too-good-to-be-true deals.

Stay safe out there!

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Inside The World’s Largest Fusion Reactor

The well-publicized failures of cold fusion may have tainted the field’s reputation, but physicists have been successfully joining nuclei with hot fusion since 1932. Today, research in hot fusion could lead to a clean energy source free from the drawbacks that dog fission power plants. Fusion power plants cannot melt down; they won’t produce long-lived, highly radioactive waste; and fusion fuel cannot be easily weaponized.

At the forefront of the effort to realize fusion-based power is ITER, an international collaboration to build the world’s largest fusion reactor. At the heart of the project is a tokamak, a doughnut-shaped vessel that contains the fusion reaction. In this vessel, magnetic fields confine a plasma composed of deuterium and tritium, two isotopes of hydrogen, while particle beams, radio waves and microwaves heat it to 270 million degrees Fahrenheit, the temperature needed to sustain the fusion reaction. During the reaction, the deuterium and tritium nuclei fuse, producing helium and a neutron. In a fusion power plant, those energetic neutrons would heat a structure, called a blanket, in the tokamak and that heat would be used to turn a turbine to produce electricity.

The ITER reactor will be the largest tokamak ever made, producing 500 megawatts of power, about the same output as a coal-fired power plant. But ITER won’t generate electricity; it’s just a gigantic physics experiment, albeit one with very high potential benefits. A mere 35 thousandths of an ounce of deuterium-tritium fuel could produce energy equivalent to 2,000 gallons of heating oil. And ITER’s process is “inherently safe,” says Richard Pitts, a senior scientific officer on the project. “It can never, ever be anything like what you see in the fission world–in Chernobyl or Fukushima–and this is why it is so attractive.”

ITER’s magnets produce fields at least 1,000 times as strong as the magnets stuck to your chúng tôi fully commercialize tokamak-based fusion, developers must overcome several challenges. First is the matter of breeding the tritium; there are only about 50 pounds of it in the world at any given time because it is not naturally occurring and decays quickly. (Deuterium is not radioactive and can be distilled from water.) Although ITER may use tritium produced by nuclear power plants, a full-scale fusion plant will need to produce its own supply–neutrons from the fusion reaction could be used to convert a stash of lithium into tritium. In addition, physicists must also determine which materials can best withstand the by-products of the fusion reaction, which will wear down the tokamak’s walls. Finally, residual radioactivity in the device will pose maintenance problems because people won’t be able to work safely within the vessel. ITER scientists must develop robots capable of replacing parts that can weigh up to 10 tons.

ITER will begin experiments in 2023 in France. If those are successful, the data produced by the project will aid the ITER team in the design of DEMO, a proposed 2,000- to 4,000-megawatt demonstration fusion power plant that will be built by 2040.


Engineers inject two hydrogen isotopes, deuterium and tritium, into the tokamak, a high-powered doughnut-shaped vacuum chamber.


A strong electric current heats the deuterium and tritium gases and ionizes them, forming a ring of plasma, a glowing soup of charged particles.


Radio waves, microwaves and high-energy deuterium particle beams heat the plasma. At high temperatures, the deuterium and tritium fuse to form a helium atom and a neutron.


If the plasma touches the walls of the tokamak, it will scuttle the fusion reaction. The charged particle is confined in a magnetic field made from 39 superconducting poloidal, toroidal and central solenoid magnets positioned around the outside of the doughnut and within its hole.


The vessel is lined with a steel blanket 1.5 feet thick to protect the tokamak walls from highly energetic neutrons.

The Rise Of The Steam Machines: Inside Valve’s Deep, Varied Living Room Pc Lineup

Charlie Brown never kicked that damned football clear to the moon and, well, after Steam Machines never materialized last summer as expected, we all started to wonder if Gabe Newell wasn’t playing mean old Lucy.

A diverse crowd

Looking at the wall of Steam Machines on display in Valve’s GDC booth, just about every hardware vendor seemed represented. I saw Steam Machines running everything from Pentium processors to Core i7 chips and yes, AMD’s Athlon CPUs, too. Graphics-wise, Intel integrated graphics, AMD Radeon cards, and even Nvidia’s new Titan X were all represented.

But again, that has been Valve’s intention from the get-go: to replicate the open and diverse hardware universe of gaming PC’s but this time, without Microsoft’s presence or influence.

Pricing of the Steam Machines on display also ran the gamut from affordable to luxury.

Alienware’s Steam Machine with the Steam logo will finally ship.

Interestingly, the cheapest of the Steam Machines continues to be Alienware’s box. I expected Alienware to refresh its Steam Machine for the launch but it doesn’t appear to have changed. I reviewed its Windows cousin last year and found it to be a nifty little machine that was surprisingly capable—and cheap.

The shocker may be that the Windows-equipped Alpha may actually be cheaper than the Steam Machine version. The Alpha has bounced as low as $450 from its intro price of $500, with an Xbox 360 controller and Windows. Valve says the Alienware is expected to cost $479 with a Steam controller (read our impressions of Steam’s final controller here) and SteamOS. Since Windows isn’t free you’d think the Steam Machine version would slightly cheaper. Nope.

4K Steam Machine

Falcon Northwest

Steam Machines can be fast and small. This Falcon Northwest Tiki packed an Intel Devil’s Canyon CPU and GeForce Titan X inside.

In one demo Valve showed us, a Falcon Northwest Tiki equipped with a Core i7-4790K “Devil’s Canyon” CPU and Nvidia’s Titan X GPU chewed through Unreal Tournament 2023 at 4K resolution and 60Hz.


Origin PC’s Chronos will run multiple GPUs making it one of the more powerful Steam Machines at launch.

As Steam Machines are intended to go into the living room, most were far smaller with the diminutive Gigabyte Brix Pro. The box, surprisingly, isn’t the Brix Gaming rig its discrete graphics but a quad-core Brix Pro with a Core i7-4770R CPU and Intel Iris Pro graphics. In pure performance, it’ll probably be the weakest in graphics grunt.

Even if it shipped with today’s Haswell quad-core core though, it’s a nicely outfitted with two Gigabit ports and four HDMI 2.0 ports. Although the demo unit had a miniDisplayPort on back, the final unit will not, Zotac said. This much hardware isn’t cheap though. Though small, the Zotac is $1,000 so it won’t be for someone who is merely SteamOS-curious.


Zotac’s tiny Steam Machine.

That’s ultimately one of the roadblocks for Steam Machines. Even at $500 for the lower-cost Steam Machines, it’s an expensive experiment. Sure, there’s an argument that the dirt-cheap games found in Steam Sales offset the hardware price pretty fast, but the native Linux games compatible with SteamOS are still far out numbered by games for Windows—and Steam Sales also apply to Windows games.

Cut off at the knee

Valve’s own $50 Steam Link was designed for Steam in-home streaming and Steam in-home streaming alone.

That may ultimately rub Steam Machine vendors the wrong way. Who is going to drop $500 to $2,000 for a Steam Machine when he or she can just stream their Windows game library from an existing PC to the TV? This band-aid to get around the limited Steam for Linux library may create wider ecosystem issues.

Steam officials I talked to brushed aside concerns about the Link potentially clock-blocking its hardware partners. Instead, Valve is offering options. Some will want a Steam Link, while others will want the better experience of a real Steam Machine. Valve also points out that any Steam Machine can act as the host and stream games.

And certainly some of the Steam Machine vendors seem fine with the idea, because it just means gamers will buy more hardware from them.

Of course, all this may just be getting ahead of ourselves. At last year’s CES, the company also had a wide range of Steam machines on display but the delay of SteamOS itself killed the 2014 endeavor. The same could happen this year, too.

No way, Steam’s Erik Wolpaw says. In fact, Wolpaw says he guarantees “100 percent” that Steam Machines will ship by November this time.

Linux Mint: Inside The Top Linux Distro

Also see: Why Linux Mint Won

And: Must Have Linux Mint Software

And one more: Debian vs. Linux Mint

While Ubuntu has been refocusing their efforts, Linux Mint has managed to supersede other distributions in becoming what some have argued is the most popular Linux Distro of all time. Obviously there is no hard data to support this, however I’ve found that on YouTube and in the forums, Linux Mint is the go-to distro for most Linux newcomers.

What most newcomers might not realize is that Linux Mint wasn’t always that polished. As a matter of fact, Linux Mint used to be nothing more than Ubuntu with codecs and a green theme installed. Flash forward to the current state of the project, Linux Mint supports a number of desktop environments and even offers Mint specific tools as well.

Linux Mint disto: Cinnamon

In the early days of Linux Mint, users found themselves looking into the distribution since it provided restricted codecs by default. Even though Ubuntu users did have access to oddball third party tools like Automatix to install software and codecs found in PPA archives, Linux Mint made the process even easier by doing all the newbie-readiness work for the end user.

Early on, Linux Mint also had useful command line tools like Mintwifi. This wireless utility provided access to ndiswrapper and a large number of proprietary drivers that would enable the casual Linux Mint user to get their wifi up and running quickly.

The timeline history for Linux Mint starts off in 2006, when the distro was first released with a KDE base. It was the release known as Ada with the following release called Barbara changing it’s codebase from Kubuntu to Ubuntu proper. By 2008, Linux Mint opted to stick with the Ubuntu release cycle timeline starting with Linux Mint Elyssa. It was during this time that we began to see Mint focusing on greater Ubuntu compatibility from its codebase in Linux Mint 6 Felicia.

Things in the Linux Mint camp really saw a flurry of activity in 2010 when Linux Mint Debian Edition was released. At the time, this version of Linux Mint was built as a rolling release distribution based on Debian, not Ubuntu. Fast forward to 2023, the rolling release element of Linux Mint Debian Edition was swapped out for a fixed long term release version of a distro by the same name. This Linux Mint Debian Edition version was based on Debian Jessie.

These days, Linux Mint is enjoying unbelievable popularity. Much of this is likely due to their approach of putting usability first, only offering releases based on Ubuntu long term release candidates and providing the simplest default desktop experience possible.

The Linux Mint flagship desktop known as Cinnamon, has done wonders to provide a solid alternative to the Ubuntu Unity desktop. Despite both Ubuntu and Linux Mint providing a suitable Linux newcomer experience, more people than ever seem to be embracing the Linux Mint way of doing things.

Linux Mint is unique in comparison to Ubuntu in that it exclusively focuses on the desktop user. Ubuntu by contrast, focuses on a wide range of areas that just happen to include the desktop user. It’s my personal belief that the exclusive focus provided by Mint on the desktop has helped greatly to attract and retain a loyal userbase.

Another thing I’ve noticed about Linux Mint is often times bugs found in Ubuntu don’t affect Linux Mint. Sometimes this can be desktop environment specific, but in others cases it feels like any bugs from Mint’s Ubuntu base were worked out ahead of time before releasing the distro to their users.

In the past, I’ve found that ex-Windows users tend to gravitate towards Linux Mint. In fairness, I have also had success with Ubuntu MATE edition with the same users, but overwhelmingly the success of Linux Mint with Windows users can’t be overstated enough.

Another component that I think wins people over to Linux Mint is a combination of predictability and Linux Mint Tools. The predictability relies heavily on the fact that today’s Linux Mint is built upon Ubuntu long term releases. Additionally, these releases are only provided to the public as a finished product once the release team feels they’re ready. This issue alone, differs from Ubuntu which works off a stricter time based release schedule.

And the final component that makes Linux Mint shine is the aforementioned Mint Tools. These tools handle everything from domain blocking to home directory backups. Most of the tools provided aren’t really unique to Mint per se, rather, they’re bundled and presented as a tool set that makes sense to newcomers over the random scattered tools with the same functionality provided by other distributions.

So where is the Linux Mint project headed in the future? I think that for the most part, what we see with Linux Mint will continue to be what we can expect in the years to come. The only changes I see will be new kernels and various updates to the provided desktop environments (Cinnamon, MATE, etc).

I see a future where Linux Mint enjoys newcomers joining the ranks for the community, much like we see today. I don’t necessarily see any explosive growth in Mint’s future simply because there’s nothing that will grow the userbase faster than we’re currently seeing.

As new technologies such as new wireless standards or improved handling of 4k displays are developed, Linux Mint is sure to be right there at the forefront of such offerings. Despite this good news, I think the secret to Linux Mint’s success will continue to be slow and steady wins the race.

Considering everything above, is it fair to suggest that Linux Mint will eventually overshadow proprietary desktop operating systems like Windows? The short answer to this would be no. The longer answer would be that Linux Mint isn’t trying to compete with proprietary operating systems. Instead, Linux Mint is destined to provide a solid, easy to use operating system for those who want to use Linux but may not have much inclination to use other desktop distros.

Inside The Flying Military Hospital That’s Treating Covid

France recently used its military airborne hospital for the first time to take civilian patients, critically ill with COVID-19, from overstretched hospitals to other facilities better able to cope. The system was designed to bring seriously injured soldiers back to France from war zones, but so far, it has transported 24 people sick with the novel coronavirus.

The flying medical facility is known by its French acronym, Morphée. That stands for “intensive care module for patients who need long-haul evacuation.” (The French is “module de réanimation pour patient à haute élongation d’évacuation.”) It allows a patient to receive the same level of intensive care aboard an aircraft as they would in hospital.

Operational since September 2006, Morphée has been used five times for military evacuations; each instance saw them transporting soldiers from Afghanistan or Kosovo.

But on March 18, France used it for the first time domestically, and for civilian purposes, to transport six coronavirus victims from an overcrowded civilian hospital in France’s eastern city of Mulhouse to army hospitals in Marseille and Toulon. On March 22, it took a further six from Mulhouse to Bordeaux. Two days later, it flew another six patients from Mulhouse to civilian hospitals in Brest and Quimper, and on March 27, six more were flown from the same city to Bordeaux.

The medical facility

Put simply, Morphée is like an ICU designed to be assembled inside an aircraft, and can later be removed when no longer needed.

It takes just a few hours to transform an aircraft into the flying hospital. If all the patients need to be intubated and ventilated, then Morphée can cope with six patients maximum. If they only need to be intubated, it can cope with a dozen.

The patient is attached to a stretcher with a four-point harness, like an aircraft pilot wears. The wheeled stretcher can be adjusted so the person can lie down, or half sit, or have their legs raised. A Propaq 100 device monitors the patient’s pulse rate, respiration, blood pressure, and temperature; it also measures the concentration of carbon dioxide in exhaled gases to let the doctors know if they are over- or under-ventilating the patient. Medications can be administered intravenously.

A turbine-powered electrical ventilator, the Carefusion LTV 1200, provides breathing assistance for patients. It also automatically compensates for the 4-percent drop in the amount of oxygen in the blood that takes place when you go from sea level to an altitude of 8,000 feet, which is what most aircraft cabins are pressurized to. If the oxygen cylinders run out, this ventilator can use air in the cabin and pressurize it. And if there is an electric failure, Morphée has a stand-by pneumatic ventilator, the Medumat Standard.

A lighting system provides 1,000 lux—that’s typical for a hospital theater and equivalent to overcast daylight—as well as various sound and light alarms and spare electric sockets for optional equipment.

In addition to this intensive care module, there are a number of cabinets. Some have drawers to hold the patient’s consumable medical items, like syringes and tubing. Two other cabinets set on either side of the central aisle also allow for equipment to be stored in many drawers. One of them contains a refrigerator to store blood for transfusions as well as medication that needs to be kept cold; it also contains a compartment to stock and power an ultrasound system, a defibrillator, and an electrocardiogram. The other cabinet contains two trolleys, one for emergencies and the other for treatments that need to be brought to the bedside.

Medication and other therapeutics can be prepared on top of another cabinet, which has integrated lighting and 40 drawers. This cabinet also has a mini-laboratory that allows medical personnel to take arterial blood gas measurements, to check how much oxygen and carbon dioxide is present; ionograms, a test that measures minerals, such as sodium and potassium; and hemoglobin levels.

In the center of the aircraft, sitting facing the tail, is an administrative space with a work table and a monitoring station that centralizes all the monitors of the patients on board.

On the March 27 flight from Mulhouse to Bordeaux. French Armed Forces Ministry/Chief of Staff

The aircraft

Morphée doesn’t permanently reside in an aircraft—it’s designed to be able to set up in one, or taken apart, as needed. France actually has two Morphée systems, and the most recent plane it’s being used in is a step up from the older model.

Initially used on the French Air Force C-135s, a type of transport and refueling plane, Morphée is now set up in the new A330 Phénix aircraft. That allows up to 16 patients (4 in intensive care and 12 lightly injured) to be brought back to France from more than 7,400 miles away with no stop-overs.

The Phénix is a lot more comfortable than the C-135: it’s lighter, quieter, and roomier. It has windows, and the cabin is about 17 feet wide compared to the C-135’s 12 feet.

Aircraft certified for what NATO calls “strategic aeromedical evacuation” must be able to supply adequate electricity for the medical equipment; must be easily accessibility to people who are lying down; must have a range long enough to fly to almost any place the nation is likely to operate without needing to stop over; be big enough to transport a number of injured people, and finally be available in sufficient numbers that the service is available all the time.

Very few countries have this capacity. Apart from France, the US Air Force and Britain’s Royal Air Force use Boeing C-17 Globemasters with built-in attachments for central oxygen and electric systems for their aeromedical evacuations. Germany uses a medicalized A310, a 30-year-old aircraft smaller than the Phénix, which was recently converted to be able to carry patients in critical condition.

The 14 C135s of the French Air Force—being replaced by 15 A330 Phénix—are equipped with specific electric wiring to deliver power of around 1,000 watts to ensure medical equipment such as the ventilators can function. They are also equipped with oxygen circuits that allow the 48,000 liters of oxygen gas on board to be released outside the aircraft if necessary.

The intensive care stretchers, the equipment storage modules, the modules to prepare the medication, and those to monitor the patients, were provided by Austrian company Air Ambulance Technology to French Armed Forces’ specifications.

Meanwhile, in the United States, the US Navy is sending hospital ships to New York and Los Angeles.

Peek Inside The Lab Working On Quantum Memories

Almost a year ago, Amazon Web Services (AWS) announced that it was partnering with Harvard University to test and develop a quantum network. In late June this year, AWS opened up its labs and let media outlets, including Popular Science, peep at its early models of a quantum repeater, which is similar to a classical amplifier that carry optical signals down long stretches of fiber. 

“We’re developing the technology for quantum networks. They are not fully baked,” says Antia Lamas-Linares, head of the AWS Center for Quantum Networking. “There’s a lot of these technologies that have been partially demonstrated in academic labs that still need quite a lot of development to get to what we call a fully fledged quantum network.”

So what’s the point of this kind of technology? A quantum network could be used to distribute cryptographic keys without having to go through an intermediate party, or create anonymous multi-user broadcasts. 

The challenges of making a quantum network

The concept behind AWS’ quantum network. Charlotte Hu

But similar to classical systems, in order to have a network, the team needs to be able to generate the qubits, move them around, and store them. And a really great way to move them around is with photons, or pieces of light, explains Nicholas Mondrik, quantum research scientist at AWS. They travel well, and “you can, with a little bit of cleverness, encode your qubit in a photon,” he says.

[Related: Chicago now has a 124-mile quantum network. This is what it’s for.]

Light is already used in classical fiber optics systems to carry information over long distances. The problem with this method is that after about 62 miles, things start to get choppy. That’s where optical amplifiers come into play. They can detect when light gets weaker, and boosts it up before sending it down the line. However, the optical amplifier and other devices used to pass down the light signal forces that light to make a choice between one or zero, says Mondrik, and it doing so would destroy the quantum information carried on the photon.  

A prototype packaged quantum memory device. Charlotte

One of the key innovations AWS has been workshopping is a quantum equivalent of a signal amplifier, called a quantum repeater. 

Diamonds are a quantum researcher’s best friend

To make a quantum repeater, they first needed to figure out how to make quantum memory—something that can store a qubit. That way, it can catch the incoming photon and allow it to be processed, before sending it on its way. The solution: synthetic, “quantum-grade” diamonds. 

Model of a diamond lattice with silicon vacancies in the center. Charlotte Hu

“Within the structure of diamonds, sometimes you get defects. Sometimes you get diamonds that are not transparent, that have colors and hues. Those things are called color centers and they are impurities in the diamond,” says Lamas-Linares. “It turns out those impurities behave like an artificial atom, and you can use them to store the state of a photon. These interesting colors are what allows us to interface with light, and store the state of the flying qubit and manipulate that state.” 

The way to make the diamond suitable for storing photons is to first create “silicon vacancies.” To do that, researchers take a diamond that’s as pure carbon as possible and bombard the carbon-lattice with silicon atoms. These silicon atoms will knock out a couple of carbons, take their place, and behave as a fixed atom in the diamond lattice that can interact with photonic qubits through electrons. 

To guide the photon to the electron on the silicon atom, researchers built nanocavities around the silicon vacancy that essentially acts like a set of mirrors that direct the light to where it needs to go. 

The chandelier holding the quantum memory. Charlotte Hu

For this process to work, the team needs to stop the diamond structure from vibrating; they do this by cooling it down to near absolute zero. The device they use to do this is the same chandelier-like dilution refrigerator-vacuum-thermal shield combination that’s used for superconducting quantum computers. But this infrastructure is notably smaller (about half the size), and tail attachment is completely different. 

“This is where the silicon vacancy, where this diamond memory lives,” Mondrik says. “In order to make silicon vacancies work as a quantum memory, as a qubit, you need to put them in a strong tunable magnetic field.” Therefore, there are additional structures on the bottom of the chandelier that allows for a superconducting magnet to be attached before the thermal shield gets put on outside. 

There’s also a piezoelectric stack that helps researchers steer things around, a microwave line that helps them manipulate the qubit, an optical fiber that transfers light into the diamond cavity, and a microscope imaging system that extends from the bottom of the chandelier to the top to let researchers see what they’re doing. 

But not all the science is done in the dilution refrigerator. There are also room temperature workspaces stationed around the lab where qubits get made, measured, and characterized. 

The room-temperature workspace for quantum researchers. Charlotte Hu

In its current form, the contraption where all the different components come together seems like a complicated assembly of wires, metals, and lenses. But eventually, the team wants to compress this technology into one singular, adaptable piece of hardware that they can drag and drop onto any type of quantum computing device. 

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