Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Exotic Quantum States: A New Research Approach

03.10.2011
Theoretical physicists of the University of Innsbruck have formulated a new concept to engineer exotic, so-called topological states of matter in quantum mechanical many-body systems.

They linked concepts of quantum optics and condensed matter physics and show a direction to build a quantum computer which is immune against perturbations. The scientists have published their work in the journal Nature Physics.


Majorana fermions are then generated at both ends of the atomic chain. Graphics: H. Ritsch

Three years ago a research team led by Sebastian Diehl and Peter Zoller presented a completely new approach to engineer quantum states in many-body systems. They used a physical phenomenon that normally increases the degree of disorder in a system dramatically: dissipation. In classical physics dissipation is the concept that explains the production of heat through friction. Surprisingly, in quantum physics dissipation can also lead to order and a completely pure many-body state can be realized. This spring an Innsbruck research team, led by experimental physicist Rainer Blatt, demonstrated experimentally that by using dissipation certain quantum effects can be generated and intensified. By linking concepts of quantum optics and condensed matter physics, theoretical physicists from the Institute of Theoretical Physics of the University of Innsbruck and the Institute for Quantum Optics and Quantum Information of the Austrian Academy of Sciences have now pointed out a new direction of how dissipation may be used in another beneficial and promising way.

Immune against perturbations

In condensed matter physics a new concept to describe order in many-body systems has gained in importance recently: topological order. Two examples for topological phenomena are the quantum Hall effect, which was demonstrated in the 1980s, and the topological insulator, which behaves as an electrical insulator in its interior while permitting the transport of charges on its surface. Sebastian Diehl and Peter Zoller’s team of theoretical physicists now suggest realizing dissipation induced Majorana fermions in a quantum system. This topological phenomenon was named after the Italian physicist Ettore Majorana and describes particles that are their own anti-particles. “We show a new way of how Majorana fermions may be created in a controlled way in a quantum system,“ explains Sebastian Diehl. “For this purpose we use a dissipative dynamic that drives the system into this state in a targeted way and compels it back when affected by disturbances.” With this new approach Diehl and his team combine the advantages of dissipation and topological order - both concepts are highly robust against perturbations such as disorder. Therefore, their suggestion to create Majorana fermions in an atomic quantum wire is of high interest for experimental implementation. It may be used for building a quantum computer whose basic building blocks consist of Majorana fermions. In quantum wires atoms are confined to one-dimensional structures by optical lattices which are generated by laser beams: Majorana fermions are then generated at both ends of the atomic chain.

Checklist

START awardee Sebastian Diehl and his research group have linked the knowledge of condensed matter physics and quantum mechanics. “We work at the interface between those two disciplines, which creates exciting new possibilities,“ says Diehl. First though, they had to prove beyond all doubt that the concept of topological order can be transferred to a dissipative context at all. “We were able to tick off all points on the topological checklist and show that its prerequisites are also valid in a system with dissipative dynamics.” The physicists have published the mathematical proof of this new approach in the journal Nature Physics.

Publication: Topology by Dissipation in Atomic Quantum Wires. S. Diehl, E. Rico, M. A. Baranov, P. Zoller. Nature Physics. 2. Oktober 2011 DOI: 10.1038/nphys2106 http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/nphys2106

Rückfragehinweis:
Dr. Sebastian Diehl
Institute for Theoretical Physics
University of Innsbruck
Phone: +43 512 507-4796
Email: Sebastian.Diehl@uibk.ac.at
http://www.uibk.ac.at/th-physik/qo/
Dr. Christian Flatz
Office for Public Relations
University of Innsbruck
Phone: +43 512 507-32022
Cell: +43 676 872532022
Email: Christian.Flatz@uibk.ac.at

Dr. Christian Flatz | Universität Innsbruck
Further information:
http://www.uibk.ac.at/th-physik/qo/

More articles from Physics and Astronomy:

nachricht New quantum liquid crystals may play role in future of computers
21.04.2017 | California Institute of Technology

nachricht Light rays from a supernova bent by the curvature of space-time around a galaxy
21.04.2017 | Stockholm University

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: Deep inside Galaxy M87

The nearby, giant radio galaxy M87 hosts a supermassive black hole (BH) and is well-known for its bright jet dominating the spectrum over ten orders of magnitude in frequency. Due to its proximity, jet prominence, and the large black hole mass, M87 is the best laboratory for investigating the formation, acceleration, and collimation of relativistic jets. A research team led by Silke Britzen from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn, Germany, has found strong indication for turbulent processes connecting the accretion disk and the jet of that galaxy providing insights into the longstanding problem of the origin of astrophysical jets.

Supermassive black holes form some of the most enigmatic phenomena in astrophysics. Their enormous energy output is supposed to be generated by the...

Im Focus: A Quantum Low Pass for Photons

Physicists in Garching observe novel quantum effect that limits the number of emitted photons.

The probability to find a certain number of photons inside a laser pulse usually corresponds to a classical distribution of independent events, the so-called...

Im Focus: Microprocessors based on a layer of just three atoms

Microprocessors based on atomically thin materials hold the promise of the evolution of traditional processors as well as new applications in the field of flexible electronics. Now, a TU Wien research team led by Thomas Müller has made a breakthrough in this field as part of an ongoing research project.

Two-dimensional materials, or 2D materials for short, are extremely versatile, although – or often more precisely because – they are made up of just one or a...

Im Focus: Quantum-physical Model System

Computer-assisted methods aid Heidelberg physicists in reproducing experiment with ultracold atoms

Two researchers at Heidelberg University have developed a model system that enables a better understanding of the processes in a quantum-physical experiment...

Im Focus: Glacier bacteria’s contribution to carbon cycling

Glaciers might seem rather inhospitable environments. However, they are home to a diverse and vibrant microbial community. It’s becoming increasingly clear that they play a bigger role in the carbon cycle than previously thought.

A new study, now published in the journal Nature Geoscience, shows how microbial communities in melting glaciers contribute to the Earth’s carbon cycle, a...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Expert meeting “Health Business Connect” will connect international medical technology companies

20.04.2017 | Event News

Wenn der Computer das Gehirn austrickst

18.04.2017 | Event News

7th International Conference on Crystalline Silicon Photovoltaics in Freiburg on April 3-5, 2017

03.04.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

New quantum liquid crystals may play role in future of computers

21.04.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

A promising target for kidney fibrosis

21.04.2017 | Health and Medicine

Light rays from a supernova bent by the curvature of space-time around a galaxy

21.04.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>