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
New study: How stable is the West Antarctic Ice Sheet?
09.02.2016 | Alfred-Wegener-Institut, Helmholtz-Zentrum für Polar- und Meeresforschung
Online shopping might not be as green as we thought
08.02.2016 | University of Delaware
Exceeding critical temperature limits in the Southern Ocean may cause the collapse of ice sheets and a sharp rise in sea levels
A future warming of the Southern Ocean caused by rising greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere may severely disrupt the stability of the West...
Indications of light-induced lossless electricity transmission in fullerenes contribute to the search for superconducting materials for practical applications.
Superconductors have long been confined to niche applications, due to the fact that the highest temperature at which even the best of these materials becomes...
Researchers at King’s College London and the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute in the United Kingdom have for the first time demonstrated a direct link between the Wbp2 gene and progressive hearing loss. The scientists report that the loss of Wbp2 expression leads to progressive high-frequency hearing loss in mouse as well as in two clinical cases of children with deafness with no other obvious features. The results are published in EMBO Molecular Medicine.
The scientists have shown that hearing impairment is linked to hormonal signalling rather than to hair cell degeneration. Wbp2 is known as a transcriptional...
Pollens, the bane of allergy sufferers, could represent a boon for battery makers: Recent research has suggested their potential use as anodes in lithium-ion batteries.
"Our findings have demonstrated that renewable pollens could produce carbon architectures for anode applications in energy storage devices," said Vilas Pol, an...
Automobiles increase the mobility of their users. However, their maneuverability is pushed to the limit by cramped inner city conditions. Those who need to...
09.02.2016 | Event News
02.02.2016 | Event News
26.01.2016 | Event News
09.02.2016 | Event News
09.02.2016 | Materials Sciences
09.02.2016 | Power and Electrical Engineering