Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Digital Quantum Simulator Realized

02.09.2011
The physicists of the University of Innsbruck and the Institute for Quantum Optics and Quantum Information (IQOQI) in Innsbruck have come considerably closer to their goal to investigate complex phenomena in a model system.

They have realized a digital, and therefore, universal quantum simulator in their laboratory, which can, in principle, simulate any physical system efficiently. Their work has been published in the online issue of the journal Science.


The mathematical description of the phenomenon to be investigated is programmed by using a series of laser pulses to perform a quantum calculation with atoms. Graphic: H. Ritsch

Almost two years ago Rainer Blatt’s and Christan Roos‘ research groups from the University of Innsbruck recreated the properties of a particle moving close to speed of light in a quantum system. They encoded the state of the particle into a highly cooled calcium atom and used lasers to manipulate it according to equations proposed by the famous quantum physicist Paul Dirac. Thereby, the scientists were able to simulate so called Zitterbewegung (quivering motion) of relativistic particles, which had never been observed directly in nature before. In the current work, the physicists use a digital approach instead of the previous analogue approach, and this universal digital quantum simulator can potentially be programmed to simulate any physical system efficiently. “We show in our experiment that our method works and that we can virtually recreate and investigate many systems,” explains Benjamin Lanyon from the Institute of Quantum Optics and Quantum Information (IQOQI) of the Austrian Academy of Sciences. “When we want to study another phenomenon, we only need to reprogram our simulator.”

The quantum computer at its best

The Innsbruck physicists use the building blocks of a quantum computer for the simulation. The mathematical description of the phenomenon to be investigated is programmed by using a series of laser pulses to perform a quantum calculation with atoms. Laser-cooled and electrically trapped calcium atoms are used as carriers of quantum bits (qubits). “We encode the desired initial state of the system to be investigated in these qubits and implement the operation sets by laser pulses,“ explains Christian Roos. He and his colleagues have demonstrated this method in two experiments at the IQOQI and the University of Innsbruck using up to 100 gates and 6 qubits. “One of the new scientific results is that interactions and dynamics can be simulated that are not even present in the quantum computer,“ says the enthused Benjamin Lanyon. He is convinced that this will be one of the most promising applications of a future quantum computer. “However, we still need a considerably higher number of quantum bits. This means that we need to be able to control and manipulate considerably more atoms – up to 40 – in the same exact way as we did in our experiment,“ says Lanyon.

First confirmation of approach

Physical phenomena are often described by equations, which may be too complicated to solve. In this case, researchers use computer simulations as a model to investigate open questions. Because this strategy is not feasible even for relatively small quantum systems due to the lack of the processing power of classical computers, the American physicist Richard Feynman proposed to simulate these phenomena in quantum systems experimentally. In 1996 the theorist Seth Lloyd confirmed the feasibility of this approach: Quantum computers can be programmed to efficiently simulate any physical system. A precondition for this approach is to have complete control over the technology and set-up of the simulator. This has already been achieved by Rainer Blatt’s successful research group working on quantum computers over the last few years. Based on this groundwork, the physicists have now been the first to experimentally realize a quantum simulator.

The scientific work published in Science has been supported by the Austrian Science Fund, the European Commission and the Federation of Austrian Industries Tyrol.

Publication: Universal digital quantum simulation with trapped ions. BP Lanyon, C Hempel, D Nigg, M Müller, R Gerritsma, F Zähringer, P Schindler, JT Barreiro, M Rambach, G Kirchmair, M Hennrich, P Zoller, R Blatt, CF Roos. Science Express 1 September 2011. DOI: 10.1126/science.1208001

Contact:
Christian Roos and Ben Lanyon
Institute for Quantum Optics and Quantum Information
Austrian Academy of Sciences
Phone: +43 512 507-4728
Email: christian.roos@uibk.ac.at / ben.lanyon@uibk.ac.at
Christian Flatz
Public Relations
University of Innsbruck
Phone: +43 512 507-32022
Cell: +43 676 8725 32022
Email: christian.flatz@uibk.ac.at

Dr. Christian Flatz | Universität Innsbruck
Further information:
http://www.quantumoptics.at/
http://www.uibk.ac.at/

More articles from Physics and Astronomy:

nachricht NASA detects solar flare pulses at Sun and Earth
17.11.2017 | NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center

nachricht Pluto's hydrocarbon haze keeps dwarf planet colder than expected
16.11.2017 | University of California - Santa Cruz

All articles from Physics and Astronomy >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: A “cosmic snake” reveals the structure of remote galaxies

The formation of stars in distant galaxies is still largely unexplored. For the first time, astron-omers at the University of Geneva have now been able to closely observe a star system six billion light-years away. In doing so, they are confirming earlier simulations made by the University of Zurich. One special effect is made possible by the multiple reflections of images that run through the cosmos like a snake.

Today, astronomers have a pretty accurate idea of how stars were formed in the recent cosmic past. But do these laws also apply to older galaxies? For around a...

Im Focus: Visual intelligence is not the same as IQ

Just because someone is smart and well-motivated doesn't mean he or she can learn the visual skills needed to excel at tasks like matching fingerprints, interpreting medical X-rays, keeping track of aircraft on radar displays or forensic face matching.

That is the implication of a new study which shows for the first time that there is a broad range of differences in people's visual ability and that these...

Im Focus: Novel Nano-CT device creates high-resolution 3D-X-rays of tiny velvet worm legs

Computer Tomography (CT) is a standard procedure in hospitals, but so far, the technology has not been suitable for imaging extremely small objects. In PNAS, a team from the Technical University of Munich (TUM) describes a Nano-CT device that creates three-dimensional x-ray images at resolutions up to 100 nanometers. The first test application: Together with colleagues from the University of Kassel and Helmholtz-Zentrum Geesthacht the researchers analyzed the locomotory system of a velvet worm.

During a CT analysis, the object under investigation is x-rayed and a detector measures the respective amount of radiation absorbed from various angles....

Im Focus: Researchers Develop Data Bus for Quantum Computer

The quantum world is fragile; error correction codes are needed to protect the information stored in a quantum object from the deteriorating effects of noise. Quantum physicists in Innsbruck have developed a protocol to pass quantum information between differently encoded building blocks of a future quantum computer, such as processors and memories. Scientists may use this protocol in the future to build a data bus for quantum computers. The researchers have published their work in the journal Nature Communications.

Future quantum computers will be able to solve problems where conventional computers fail today. We are still far away from any large-scale implementation,...

Im Focus: Wrinkles give heat a jolt in pillared graphene

Rice University researchers test 3-D carbon nanostructures' thermal transport abilities

Pillared graphene would transfer heat better if the theoretical material had a few asymmetric junctions that caused wrinkles, according to Rice University...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Ecology Across Borders: International conference brings together 1,500 ecologists

15.11.2017 | Event News

Road into laboratory: Users discuss biaxial fatigue-testing for car and truck wheel

15.11.2017 | Event News

#Berlin5GWeek: The right network for Industry 4.0

30.10.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

NASA detects solar flare pulses at Sun and Earth

17.11.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

NIST scientists discover how to switch liver cancer cell growth from 2-D to 3-D structures

17.11.2017 | Health and Medicine

The importance of biodiversity in forests could increase due to climate change

17.11.2017 | Studies and Analyses

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>