Heidelberg physicists develop new approach to building signal processing components from individual atoms
In a study on the transport of atoms in ultracold gases, a team of physicists led by Dr. Sandro Wimberger has developed a new approach to how signals might be transmitted at the atomic level.
This could be especially important for realising logic structures with strictly defined functions on the basis of individual atoms, which in turn could find application in transistors or diodes. The research work in the innovative field of atomtronics is being done at the Institute for Theoretical Physics at Heidelberg University.
The researchers are attempting to gain a fundamental understanding of quantum mechanical effects as compared to conventional electronics.
New experimental techniques allow targeted control of ultracold atomic gases – and ergo the bottom-up creation and study of logical components. Dr. Wimberger’s working group is studying the transport of individual atoms through a chain of so-called potential wells. “At an entirely different order of magnitude, imagine an empty egg carton in which the eggs ‘wander’ from one dimple to the next across the entire carton,” explains the Heidelberg physicist.
In these experiments, the atoms behave coherently, meaning they follow the same fixed rule during dynamic transport. In this instance, their behaviour is completely quantum mechanical over the entire chain of potential wells. Dr. Wimberger adds that at the same time, however, different atoms interact with one another, which can affect transport from one well to the next.
The principle is similar to the flow of electrons in a solid state body to which electrical voltage is applied. In this case, the Heidelberg scientists are working with bosonic atoms from a large particle reservoir coupled to a lattice of potential wells. Via the lattice chain, individual bosons flow from the larger into a smaller particle reservoir, generating a particle current in the process.
“The atomic current depends on the properties of the particle reservoir, but especially on the interactions between the atoms,” states Anton Ivanov, the study’s lead author and formerly a member of Dr. Wimberger’s working group. If the interaction is weak, the atomic current flow is directly proportional to the difference in the number of particles between the two reservoirs.
Therefore, it increases linearly with the difference in the number of particles – which is analogous to the voltage in an electrical circuit. If their interaction is strong, the atoms intersperse and block the flow of electricity until it comes to a complete halt.
In their study, the Heidelberg researchers used an analytic approach that was largely confirmed through numerical calculations. The results of their research were published in the “European Physical Journal”.
A. Ivanov, G. Kordas, A. Komnik, S. Wimberger: Bosonic transport through a chain of quantum dots, European Physical Journal B (5 August 2013), doi: 10.1140/epjb/e2013-40417-4
Dr. Sandro Wimberger
Institute for Theoretical Physics
phone: +49 6221 54-5038
Communications and Marketing
phone: +49 6221 542311
Marietta Fuhrmann-Koch | idw - Informationsdienst Wissenschaft
Network analysis shows systemic risk in mineral markets
16.11.2015 | International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)
NIST study of Colorado wildfire shows actions can change outcomes
10.11.2015 | National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST)
Nerve cells cover their high energy demand with glucose and lactate. Scientists of the University of Zurich now provide new support for this. They show for the first time in the intact mouse brain evidence for an exchange of lactate between different brain cells. With this study they were able to confirm a 20-year old hypothesis.
In comparison to other organs, the human brain has the highest energy requirements. The supply of energy for nerve cells and the particular role of lactic acid...
In laser material processing, the simulation of processes has made great strides over the past few years. Today, the software can predict relatively well what will happen on the workpiece. Unfortunately, it is also highly complex and requires a lot of computing time. Thanks to clever simplification, experts from Fraunhofer ILT are now able to offer the first-ever simulation software that calculates processes in real time and also runs on tablet computers and smartphones. The fast software enables users to do without expensive experiments and to find optimum process parameters even more effectively.
Before now, the reliable simulation of laser processes was a job for experts. Armed with sophisticated software packages and after many hours on computer...
Researchers at Heidelberg University have devised a new way to study the phenomenon of magnetism. Using ultracold atoms at near absolute zero, they prepared a...
AWI researchers’ unique 15-year observation series reveals how sensitive marine ecosystems in polar regions are to change
The warming of arctic waters in the wake of climate change is likely to produce radical changes in the marine habitats of the High North. This is indicated by...
Berkeley Lab researchers develop nanoparticles that can carry therapeutics across the brain blood barrier
Glioblastoma multiforme, a cancer of the brain also known as "octopus tumors" because of the manner in which the cancer cells extend their tendrils into...
17.11.2015 | Event News
21.10.2015 | Event News
20.10.2015 | Event News
24.11.2015 | Trade Fair News
24.11.2015 | Trade Fair News
24.11.2015 | Life Sciences