An international consortium led by researchers at the University of Basel has developed a method to precisely alter the quantum mechanical states of electrons within an array of quantum boxes. The method can be used to investigate the interactions between various types of atoms and electrons, which is essential for future quantum technologies, as the group reports in the journal Small.
Applications of quantum mechanics are often compromised by the fundamental property of quanta: any measurement inevitably modifies the measured state. Technologies such as quantum computers can be designed only on the basis of known, clearly defined and simple interactions between individual components.
The Department of Physics at the University of Basel together with the Swiss Nanoscience Institute has now developed a method that can be used to study these kinds of interactions in a well-defined system.
Similar to a breadboard in electrical engineering
Breadboards are used in electronic measurement technology to design and test prototypes of electronic circuits and for teaching purposes. The procedure developed by the international consortium led by Prof. Thomas Jung of the University of Basel works in a similar way: for the first time, the new method allows researchers to configure a network of quantum boxes in order to form various quantum electronic states.
A quantum box is an artificially produced structure that restricts a particle’s movements, so that it can move in only two dimensions. This reduces the complexity of a particle interaction and simplifies the process of measurement and analysis.
The research team refined an established method in which atoms are repositioned one after the other using scanning tunneling microscopy, allowing the creation of clearly defined quantum sys-tems. Through the targeted relocating of xenon atoms in quantum boxes, the team succeeded in generating different patterns that correspond to a wide range of quantum states.
Essential tool for quantum technology
The development of quantum technology relies on a detailed understanding of the interdependence between different electronic states; for example, in various atoms. With the physicists’ method, quantum states can be accurately reproduced and interactions between various chemical elements and well-defined electronic states examined – an “unlimited playing field for the study of quantum states”, as the researchers write in Small.
A range of institutions contributed to the project’s success: the theory was outlined by researchers from Linköping (Sweden), the molecules used were synthesized in Heidelberg (Germany), and scientists from San Sebastián (Spain) were responsible for some of the complex measurements of the specific quantum states.
Sylwia Nowakowska, Aneliia Wäckerlin, Ignacio Piquero-Zulaica, Jan Nowakowski, Shigeki Kawai, Christian Wäckerlin, Manfred Matena, Thomas Nijs, Shadi Fatayer, Olha Popova, Aisha Ahsan, S. Fatameh Mousavi, Toni Ivas, Ernst Meyer, Meike Stöhr, J. Enrique Ortega, Jonas Björk, Lutz H. Gade, Jorge Lobo-Checa, and Thomas A. Jung
Configuring Electronic States in an Atomically Precise Array of Quantum Boxes
Small 2016,00, 1–6 | doi: 10.1002/smll.201600915
Prof. Thomas A. Jung, University of Basel, Nanolab, tel: +41 56 310 45 18, email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Olivia Poisson | Universität Basel
Tracing aromatic molecules in the early universe
23.03.2017 | University of California - Riverside
New study maps space dust in 3-D
23.03.2017 | DOE/Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory
Astronomers from Bonn and Tautenburg in Thuringia (Germany) used the 100-m radio telescope at Effelsberg to observe several galaxy clusters. At the edges of these large accumulations of dark matter, stellar systems (galaxies), hot gas, and charged particles, they found magnetic fields that are exceptionally ordered over distances of many million light years. This makes them the most extended magnetic fields in the universe known so far.
The results will be published on March 22 in the journal „Astronomy & Astrophysics“.
Galaxy clusters are the largest gravitationally bound structures in the universe. With a typical extent of about 10 million light years, i.e. 100 times the...
Researchers at the Goethe University Frankfurt, together with partners from the University of Tübingen in Germany and Queen Mary University as well as Francis Crick Institute from London (UK) have developed a novel technology to decipher the secret ubiquitin code.
Ubiquitin is a small protein that can be linked to other cellular proteins, thereby controlling and modulating their functions. The attachment occurs in many...
In the eternal search for next generation high-efficiency solar cells and LEDs, scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory and their partners are creating...
Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are less stable. Now researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have, for the first time ever, produced a composite material combining silicon nanosheets and a polymer that is both UV-resistant and easy to process. This brings the scientists a significant step closer to industrial applications like flexible displays and photosensors.
Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are...
Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to simulate these confined natural conditions in artificial vesicles for the first time. As reported in the academic journal Small, the results are offering better insight into the development of nanoreactors and artificial organelles.
Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to...
20.03.2017 | Event News
14.03.2017 | Event News
07.03.2017 | Event News
23.03.2017 | Life Sciences
23.03.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering
23.03.2017 | Earth Sciences