Recently, theoretical physicists at KITP have made important strides in studying a concept in quantum physics called quantum entanglement, in which electron spins are entangled with each other. Using computers to calculate the extreme version of quantum entanglement –– how the spin of every electron in certain electronic materials could be entangled with another electron's spin –– the research team found a way to predict this characteristic. Future applications of the research are expected to benefit fields such as information technology.
"Quantum entanglement is a strange and non-intuitive aspect of the quantum theory of matter, which has puzzled and intrigued physicists since the earliest days of the quantum theory," said Leon Balents, senior author of a recent paper on this topic published in the journal Nature Physics. Balents is a professor of physics and a permanent member of KITP.
Quantum entanglement represents the extent to which measurement of one part of a system affects the state of another; for example, measurement of one electron influences the state of another that may be far away, explained Balents. In recent years, scientists have realized that entanglement of electrons is present in varying degrees in solid materials. Taking this notion to the extreme is the "quantum spin liquid," a state of matter in which every electron spin is entangled with another.
Balents said that quantum spin liquids are being sought in experiments on natural and artificial minerals. A key question posed by physicists is how to calculate theoretically which materials are quantum spin liquids. "In our paper, we provide an answer to this question, showing that a precise quantitative measure of 'long-range' entanglement can be calculated for realistic models of electronic materials," said Balents.
"Our results provide a smoking gun signature of this special type of entanglement that determines whether or not a given material is a quantum spin liquid," explained Balents. The results prove that an emblematic example of this type of problem –– material with electron spins residing on the "kagome lattice" –– is indeed a quantum spin liquid, according to Balents. The kagome lattice is a pattern of electron spins named after a type of Japanese fishing basket that this arrangement of spins resembles.
"We expect the technique we developed to have broad applications in the search for these unique quantum states, which in the future may have remarkable applications in information technologies," said Balents.
Hong-Chen Jiang, postdoctoral fellow with KITP, and Zhenghan Wang, a researcher with Microsoft Station Q at UCSB, are co-authors of the paper.
Gail Gallessich | Source: EurekAlert!
Further information: www.ucsb.edu
More articles from Physics and Astronomy:
CU-Boulder scientist: 2012 solar storm points up need for society to prepare
10.12.2013 | University of Colorado at Boulder
3D printing used as a tool to explain theoretical physics
09.12.2013 | Institute of Physics
Researchers from Brown University and the University of Hawaii have found some mineralogical surprises in the Moon's largest impact crater.
Data from the Moon Mineralogy Mapper that flew aboard India's Chandrayaan-1 lunar orbiter shows a diverse mineralogy in the subsurface of the giant South Pole Aitken basin.
The differing mineral signatures could be reflective of the minerals dredged up at the time of the giant impact 4 billion years ago, ...
In power electronics systems bonded connections create the central electrical connections between adjoining surfaces.
The quality of these bonded connections is one of the main factors that determines the reliability and availability of drive systems in electric vehicles, and hence constitutes a major design challenge for German auto manufacturers aiming to electrify their vehicles.
Now the partners participating in the RoBE (Robust Bonds in ...
International team of scientists develops new feedback method for optimizing the laser pulse shapes used in the control of chemical reactions
In many ways, traditional chemical synthesis is similar to cooking. To alter the final product, you can change the ingredients or their ratio, change the method of mixing ingredients, or change the temperature or pressure of the environment of the ingredients.
Like an accomplished chef, chemists have become very skilled ...
A genetic defect protects mice from infection with influenza viruses
A new study published in the scientific journal PLOS Pathogens points out that mice lacking a protein called Tmprss2 are no longer affected by certain flu viruses.
The discovery was made by researchers from the Helmholtz Centre for Infection Research (HZI) in Braunschweig in collaboration with colleagues from Göttingen and ...
The Light: Global study gets underway with online user survey
Light has a fundamental impact on our sense of well-being and performance. In cooperation with Zumtobel, a supplier of lighting solutions, Fraunhofer IAO has launched a global user survey of lighting quality in offices. The objective is to identify the best lighting conditions for a variety of spaces and lighting ...
10.12.2013 | Physics and Astronomy
10.12.2013 | Agricultural and Forestry Science
10.12.2013 | Power and Electrical Engineering
10.12.2013 | Event News
05.12.2013 | Event News
04.12.2013 | Event News