Researchers from the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) have reported a way to measure the amount of laser light needed to shift the electrons in a type of quantum dot between two discrete states—a low energy, ground state and a higher energy, excited state. Quantum dots may be able to serve as the ones and zeros in a quantum computer, once physicists have the ability to turn them "on" and "off". NIST's and NREL's new technique measures the dipole moment directly by enclosing the dots in a cavity, a dimming laser light pulse passing over them repeatedly. This in turn helps measure the dipole moment, indicating how easy the dots are to excite. For details, go to http://nist.gov.