Physical processes affect almost every aspect of our lives, yet physicists still grapple with understanding and modeling the behavior of many such processes—particularly complex quantum physical processes, including certain superconducting effects.
To circumvent the limitations of conventional computers in tackling these problems, physicists have proposed using well-understood quantum systems called ‘quantum simulators’ (or ‘quantum emulators’) to emulate similar, but otherwise poorly understood, quantum systems.
In a review of the different approaches taken in developing these simulators, Iulia Buluta and Franco Nori from the RIKEN Advanced Science Institute, Wako (and the University of Michigan, USA), have concluded that the first practical applications may soon be a reality1.
“Quantum emulators could be employed in fields such as atomic physics or condensed-matter physics,” explains Nori. However, he says, the detailed study of known physical processes is just one advantage: these controllable quantum emulators would also allow the exploration of novel physical processes that are typically hard to study.
Among the various physical systems that could be used to build a quantum simulator, one possibility is the use of regular arrays of atoms or ions that are held in place by laser fields. According to Buluta and Nori, the interactions between these atoms provide a good model for emulating the interaction between other particles in complex systems. To model electrical conductivity, for example, this type of quantum simulator can be used to study the transition from the insulating state to the conducting state, where the atoms switch from being fixed to being free to move.
Buluta and Nori also point out that electronic devices fabricated on a computer chip could be used as a controllable quantum system. In this system, small circuits made from superconducting wires possess quantum physical properties that could be used to model atomic physics problems.
These quantum systems have been demonstrated experimentally (Fig. 1); however, challenges remain until more advanced and versatile quantum simulators can be built. Synchronizing the operation of a large number of components, for example, has not yet been achieved, Buluta notes. From a theoretical viewpoint, she says that much also needs to be learned about meaningfully programming quantum simulators.
Nevertheless, Nori believes that, in contrast to the situation 25 years ago when Richard Feynman first proposed quantum simulators, the experimental demonstrations of the basic components for quantum computers completed to date suggest an optimistic outlook. “The necessary level of control of quantum systems is now within reach,” he says.
The corresponding author for this highlight is based at the Digital Materials Laboratory, RIKEN Advanced Science Institute
Buluta, I. & Nori. F. Quantum simulators. Science 326, 108–111 (2009).
Saeko Okada | Research asia research news
Engineering team images tiny quasicrystals as they form
18.08.2017 | Cornell University
Astrophysicists explain the mysterious behavior of cosmic rays
18.08.2017 | Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology
Whether you call it effervescent, fizzy, or sparkling, carbonated water is making a comeback as a beverage. Aside from quenching thirst, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have discovered a new use for these "bubbly" concoctions that will have major impact on the manufacturer of the world's thinnest, flattest, and one most useful materials -- graphene.
As graphene's popularity grows as an advanced "wonder" material, the speed and quality at which it can be manufactured will be paramount. With that in mind,...
Physicists at the University of Bonn have managed to create optical hollows and more complex patterns into which the light of a Bose-Einstein condensate flows. The creation of such highly low-loss structures for light is a prerequisite for complex light circuits, such as for quantum information processing for a new generation of computers. The researchers are now presenting their results in the journal Nature Photonics.
Light particles (photons) occur as tiny, indivisible portions. Many thousands of these light portions can be merged to form a single super-photon if they are...
For the first time, scientists have shown that circular RNA is linked to brain function. When a RNA molecule called Cdr1as was deleted from the genome of mice, the animals had problems filtering out unnecessary information – like patients suffering from neuropsychiatric disorders.
While hundreds of circular RNAs (circRNAs) are abundant in mammalian brains, one big question has remained unanswered: What are they actually good for? In the...
An experimental small satellite has successfully collected and delivered data on a key measurement for predicting changes in Earth's climate.
The Radiometer Assessment using Vertically Aligned Nanotubes (RAVAN) CubeSat was launched into low-Earth orbit on Nov. 11, 2016, in order to test new...
A study led by scientists of the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) at the Center for Free-Electron Laser Science in Hamburg presents evidence of the coexistence of superconductivity and “charge-density-waves” in compounds of the poorly-studied family of bismuthates. This observation opens up new perspectives for a deeper understanding of the phenomenon of high-temperature superconductivity, a topic which is at the core of condensed matter research since more than 30 years. The paper by Nicoletti et al has been published in the PNAS.
Since the beginning of the 20th century, superconductivity had been observed in some metals at temperatures only a few degrees above the absolute zero (minus...
16.08.2017 | Event News
04.08.2017 | Event News
26.07.2017 | Event News
18.08.2017 | Life Sciences
18.08.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
18.08.2017 | Materials Sciences