While several building blocks for a quantum computer have already been successfully tested in the laboratory, a network requires one additonal component: a reliable interface between computers and information channels. In the current issue of the journal Nature, physicists at the University of Innsbruck report the construction of an efficient and tunable interface for quantum networks.
At the core of the experiment lies an optical resonator consisting of two highly reflective mirrors. Photo: C. Lackner
Quantum technologies promise to redefine the landscape of information processing and communication. We already live in an information age, in which vast amounts of data are sent around the world over optical fibers, but future quantum networks may be many times more powerful. These networks will require interfaces that can transfer information from quantum processors onto light particles (photons).
Such interfaces will allow optical fibers to transmit information-bearing photons between remote data registers, which are likely to be composed of quantum dots or ions. In contrast to classical information, quantum information can’t be copied without being corrupted. Instead, physicists around the world are searching for ways to transfer quantum information between matter and light using entanglement, the quantum property in which the state of one particle depends on the state of a second. Now, a research team led by Rainer Blatt, Tracy Northup, and Andreas Stute at the University of Innsbruck’s Institute for Experimental Physics has demonstrated the first interface between a single ion and a single photon that is both efficient and freely tunable.
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In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.
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The Max Planck Institute for Physics (MPP) is opening up a new research field. A workshop from November 21 - 22, 2016 will mark the start of activities for an innovative axion experiment. Axions are still only purely hypothetical particles. Their detection could solve two fundamental problems in particle physics: What dark matter consists of and why it has not yet been possible to directly observe a CP violation for the strong interaction.
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