By studying the behaviour of these atoms and photons in this protected environment, the physicists can illustrate fundamental aspects of quantum theory, such as state superpositions, complementarity and decoherence. This research is related to the physics of quantum information, a new domain at the frontier of information science and physics that tries to harness the logic of the quantum world to realise tasks in communication and computing that classical devices cannot achieve.
“During the 20th century, quantum physics has given us new technologies that have changed our lives – for example the computer, the laser and magnetic resonance imaging to name a few,” explained Prof. Haroche. “However, quantum laws have counterintuitive aspects that defy common sense. This has led to a paradox: although we all take advantage of quantum physics, it remains very strange - even some of the scientists that developed the theory, such as Einstein, Schrödinger and de Broglie, were uneasy about its deep meaning,” he said.
Prof. Haroche and his team have recently succeeded in trapping a single photon in a box on the time scale of seconds and have detected this photon many times without destroying it. The researchers have achieved this by sending atoms across the box and measuring the imprint left on the atoms by the photon. This is a new kind of light detection called ‘quantum non-demolition’,” explained Prof. Haroche. “Until now, single photons were always destroyed upon detection.”
The result means that it is now possible repeatedly to extract information from the same photon. This is important because the major part of all information we get from the universe come from light. “Developing a new way of ‘seeing’ could have applications in quantum science,” said Prof. Haroche. “A photon could share its information with an ensemble of atoms to build up an ‘entangled state’ of light or matter”.
Attempting to manipulate and control quantum systems raises important questions about the transition between quantum and classical behaviour. “Fundamentally, the goal is to understand nature better,” explained Prof. Haroche. “Applications, such as quantum communication machines, will certainly come but what they will be useful for is not yet clear. This is why research is so exciting – unpredictable things keep happening all the time.”
Prof. Haroche’s group is currently working with atoms and photons in cavities but related work is being done by other groups on trapped ions and cold atoms in optical potential wells, with superconducting junction or quantum dots in solid state devices. “Although the technologies may differ widely, the quantum and information science concepts used are the same,” he explained. “We are therefore witnessing a kind of unification between different fields of research that is very promising.”
Dianne Stilwell | alfa
Astronomers find unexpected, dust-obscured star formation in distant galaxy
24.03.2017 | University of Massachusetts at Amherst
Gravitational wave kicks monster black hole out of galactic core
24.03.2017 | NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center
Astronomers from Bonn and Tautenburg in Thuringia (Germany) used the 100-m radio telescope at Effelsberg to observe several galaxy clusters. At the edges of these large accumulations of dark matter, stellar systems (galaxies), hot gas, and charged particles, they found magnetic fields that are exceptionally ordered over distances of many million light years. This makes them the most extended magnetic fields in the universe known so far.
The results will be published on March 22 in the journal „Astronomy & Astrophysics“.
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Researchers at the Goethe University Frankfurt, together with partners from the University of Tübingen in Germany and Queen Mary University as well as Francis Crick Institute from London (UK) have developed a novel technology to decipher the secret ubiquitin code.
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Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are less stable. Now researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have, for the first time ever, produced a composite material combining silicon nanosheets and a polymer that is both UV-resistant and easy to process. This brings the scientists a significant step closer to industrial applications like flexible displays and photosensors.
Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are...
Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to simulate these confined natural conditions in artificial vesicles for the first time. As reported in the academic journal Small, the results are offering better insight into the development of nanoreactors and artificial organelles.
Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to...
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