Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


Atom 'noise' may help design quantum computers

As if building a computer out of rubidium atoms and laser beams weren't difficult enough, scientists sometimes have to work as if blindfolded: The quirks of quantum physics can cause correlations between the atoms to fade from view at crucial times.

What to do? Focus on the noise patterns. Building on earlier work by other groups, physicists at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) have found that images of "noise" in clouds of ultracold atoms trapped by lasers reveal hidden structural patterns, including spacing between atoms and cloud size.

The technique, described in the Feb. 23 issue of Physical Review Letters,* was demonstrated in an experiment to partition about 170,000 atoms in an "optical lattice," produced by intersecting laser beams that are seen by the atoms as an array of energy wells arranged like an egg carton. By loading just one atom into each well, for example, scientists can create the initial state of a hypothetical quantum computer using neutral atoms to store and process information.

The atoms first are cooled to form a Bose-Einstein condensate (BEC), a unique form of matter in which all the atoms are in the same quantum state and completely indistinguishable. The optical lattice lasers then are slowly turned on and the BEC undergoes a transformation in which the atoms space out evenly in the lattice. More intense light creates deeper wells until each atom settles into its own lattice well. But during this transition, scientists lose their capability to see and measure key quantum correlations among the atoms.

Key structures are visible, however, in composite images of the noise patterns, which reveal not only atom spacing but also cloud size and how much of the BEC has undergone the transition.

In the NIST experiments, the BEC was placed in an optical lattice at various laser intensities. The lattice was turned off, and scientists took pictures of the expanding cloud of atoms after 20 to 30 milliseconds. To identify and enhance the noise signal, scientists looked for identical bumps and wiggles in the images and made composites of about 60 images by identifying and overlaying matching patterns. Lead author Ian Spielman likens the technique to listening to a noisy ballroom: While it may be impossible to hear specific conversations, correlations in noise can show where people (or atoms) are located in relation to each other, and the volume of noise can indicate the size of the ballroom (or atomic cloud), Spielman says.

Laura Ost | EurekAlert!
Further information:

More articles from Physics and Astronomy:

nachricht Physicists made crystal lattice from polaritons
20.03.2018 | ITMO University

nachricht Mars' oceans formed early, possibly aided by massive volcanic eruptions
20.03.2018 | University of California - Berkeley

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: Mars' oceans formed early, possibly aided by massive volcanic eruptions

Oceans formed before Tharsis and evolved together, shaping climate history of Mars

A new scenario seeking to explain how Mars' putative oceans came and went over the last 4 billion years implies that the oceans formed several hundred million...

Im Focus: Tiny implants for cells are functional in vivo

For the first time, an interdisciplinary team from the University of Basel has succeeded in integrating artificial organelles into the cells of live zebrafish embryos. This innovative approach using artificial organelles as cellular implants offers new potential in treating a range of diseases, as the authors report in an article published in Nature Communications.

In the cells of higher organisms, organelles such as the nucleus or mitochondria perform a range of complex functions necessary for life. In the networks of...

Im Focus: Locomotion control with photopigments

Researchers from Göttingen University discover additional function of opsins

Animal photoreceptors capture light with photopigments. Researchers from the University of Göttingen have now discovered that these photopigments fulfill an...

Im Focus: Surveying the Arctic: Tracking down carbon particles

Researchers embark on aerial campaign over Northeast Greenland

On 15 March, the AWI research aeroplane Polar 5 will depart for Greenland. Concentrating on the furthest northeast region of the island, an international team...

Im Focus: Unique Insights into the Antarctic Ice Shelf System

Data collected on ocean-ice interactions in the little-researched regions of the far south

The world’s second-largest ice shelf was the destination for a Polarstern expedition that ended in Punta Arenas, Chile on 14th March 2018. Oceanographers from...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Industry & Economy
Event News

Virtual reality conference comes to Reutlingen

19.03.2018 | Event News

Ultrafast Wireless and Chip Design at the DATE Conference in Dresden

16.03.2018 | Event News

International Tinnitus Conference of the Tinnitus Research Initiative in Regensburg

13.03.2018 | Event News

Latest News

Physicists made crystal lattice from polaritons

20.03.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

Mars' oceans formed early, possibly aided by massive volcanic eruptions

20.03.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

Thawing permafrost produces more methane than expected

20.03.2018 | Earth Sciences

Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>