Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


Quantum simulator becomes accessible to the world

Experimental physicists have put a lot of effort in isolating sensitive measurements from the disruptive influences of the environment.

In an international first, Austrian quantum physicists have realized a toolbox of elementary building blocks for an open-system quantum simulator, where a controlled coupling to an environment is used in a beneficial way. This offers novel prospects for studying the behavior of highly complex quantum systems. The researchers have published their work in the scientific journal Nature.

An ion interacts with the quantum system and, at the same time, establishes a controlled contact to the environment. Graphics: Harald Ritsch

Many phenomena in our world are based on the nature of quantum physics: the structure of atoms and molecules, chemical reactions, material properties, magnetism and possibly also certain biological processes. Since the complexity of phenomena increases exponentially with more quantum particles involved, a detailed study of these complex systems reaches its limits quickly; and conventional computers fail when calculating these problems. To overcome these difficulties, physicists have been developing quantum simulators on various platforms, such as neutral atoms, ions or solid-state systems, which, similar to quantum computers, utilize the particular nature of quantum physics to control this complexity. In a special issue at the end of 2010, the scientific journal Science chose the progress made in this field as one of the scientific breakthroughs of the year 2010.

In another breakthrough in this field, a team of young scientists in the research groups of Rainer Blatt and Peter Zoller at the Institute for Experimental Physics and Theoretical Physics of the University of Innsbruck and the Institute of Quantum Optics and Quantum Information (IQOQI) of the Austrian Academy of Sciences have been the first to engineer a comprehensive toolbox for an open-system quantum computer, which will enable researchers to construct more sophisticated quantum simulators for investigating complex problems in quantum physics.

Using controlled dissipation
The physicists use a natural phenomenon In their experiments that they usually try to minimize as much as possible: environmental disturbances. Such disturbances usually cause information loss in quantum systems and destroy fragile quantum effects such as entanglement or interference. In physics this deleterious process is called dissipation. Innsbruck researchers, led by experimental physicists Julio Barreiro and Philipp Schindler as well as the theorist Markus Müller, have now been first in using dissipation in a quantum simulator with trapped ions in a beneficial way and engineered system-environment coupling experimentally. “We not only control all internal states of the quantum system consisting of up to four ions but also the coupling to the environment,” explains Julio Barreiro. “In our experiment we use an additional ion that interacts with the quantum system and, at the same time, establishes a controlled contact to the environment,“ explains Philipp Schindler. The surprising result is that by using dissipation, the researchers are able to generate and intensify quantum effects, such as entanglement, in the system. “We achieved this by controlling the disruptive environment,“ says an excited Markus Müller.
Putting the quantum world into order
In one of their experiments the researchers demonstrate the control of dissipative dynamics by entangling four ions using the environment ion. “Contrary to other common procedures this also works irrespective of the initial state of each particle,” explains Müller. “Through a collective cooling process, the particles are driven to a common state.“ This procedure can be used to prepare many-body states, which otherwise could only be created and observed in an extremely well isolated quantum system. The beneficial use of an environment allows for the realization of new types of quantum dynamics and the investigation of systems that have scarcely been accessible for experiments until now. In the last few years there has been continuous thinking about how dissipation, instead of suppressing it, could be actively used as a resource for building quantum computers and quantum memories. Innsbruck theoretical and experimental physicists cooperated closely and they have now been the first to successfully implement these dissipative effects in a quantum simulator.

The Innsbruck researchers are supported by the Austrian Science Fund (FWF), the European Commission and the Federation of Austrian Industries Tyrol.

Publication: An Open-System Quantum Simulator with Trapped Ions. Julio T. Barreiro, Markus Müller, Philipp Schindler, Daniel Nigg, Thomas Monz, Michael Chwalla, Markus Hennrich, Christian F. Roos, Peter Zoller und Rainer Blatt. Nature 2011.

DOI: 10.1038/nature09801

Julio Barreiro
Institute for Experimental Physics
University of Innsbruck
Phone: +43 512 507-6321
Christian Roos
Institute for Quantum Optics and Quantum Information (IQOQI)
Austrian Academy of Sciences
Phone: +43 512 507-4728
Christian Flatz
Public Relations
University of Innsbruck
Phone: +43 650 5777122
Weitere Informationen: - An Open-System Quantum Simulator with Trapped Ions. Julio T. Barreiro, Markus Müller, Philipp Schindler, Daniel Nigg, Thomas Monz, Michael Chwalla, Markus Hennrich, Christian F. Roos, Peter Zoller und Rainer Blatt. Nature 2011.

Dr. Christian Flatz | Universität Innsbruck
Further information:

More articles from Physics and Astronomy:

nachricht Light-driven atomic rotations excite magnetic waves
24.10.2016 | Max-Planck-Institut für Struktur und Dynamik der Materie

nachricht Move over, lasers: Scientists can now create holograms from neutrons, too
21.10.2016 | National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST)

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: Light-driven atomic rotations excite magnetic waves

Terahertz excitation of selected crystal vibrations leads to an effective magnetic field that drives coherent spin motion

Controlling functional properties by light is one of the grand goals in modern condensed matter physics and materials science. A new study now demonstrates how...

Im Focus: New 3-D wiring technique brings scalable quantum computers closer to reality

Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.

"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...

Im Focus: Scientists develop a semiconductor nanocomposite material that moves in response to light

In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.

A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...

Im Focus: Diamonds aren't forever: Sandia, Harvard team create first quantum computer bridge

By forcefully embedding two silicon atoms in a diamond matrix, Sandia researchers have demonstrated for the first time on a single chip all the components needed to create a quantum bridge to link quantum computers together.

"People have already built small quantum computers," says Sandia researcher Ryan Camacho. "Maybe the first useful one won't be a single giant quantum computer...

Im Focus: New Products - Highlights of COMPAMED 2016

COMPAMED has become the leading international marketplace for suppliers of medical manufacturing. The trade fair, which takes place every November and is co-located to MEDICA in Dusseldorf, has been steadily growing over the past years and shows that medical technology remains a rapidly growing market.

In 2016, the joint pavilion by the IVAM Microtechnology Network, the Product Market “High-tech for Medical Devices”, will be located in Hall 8a again and will...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

Agricultural Trade Developments and Potentials in Central Asia and the South Caucasus

14.10.2016 | Event News

World Health Summit – Day Three: A Call to Action

12.10.2016 | Event News

Latest News

Oasis of life in the ice-covered central Arctic

24.10.2016 | Earth Sciences

‘Farming’ bacteria to boost growth in the oceans

24.10.2016 | Life Sciences

Light-driven atomic rotations excite magnetic waves

24.10.2016 | Physics and Astronomy

More VideoLinks >>>