With just one particle of light, scientists successfully linked together over 3,000 atoms in a science fiction-sounding state known as “quantum entanglement.”

The record-breaking number could lead to more precise atomic clocks and better GPS signals. The study was published March 26 in the journal Nature.

Quantum entanglement is a bizarre phenomenon where two particles become linked. Anything you do to one particle instantly affects the other no matter how far apart they are — even if one particle is on the Earth and the other is on the moon.

Quantum entanglement is important because scientists can use it to create atomic clocks that are crucial for accurate GPS. The most sophisticated atomic clocks are already really impressive. They’re accurate to one second in 300 million years.

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