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 Astronomy student discovers 17 new planets, including Earth-sized world
28.02.2020 | University of British Columbia

nachricht Explained: Why water droplets 'bounce off the walls'
27.02.2020 | University of Warwick

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: High-pressure scientists in Bayreuth discover promising material for information technology

Researchers at the University of Bayreuth have discovered an unusual material: When cooled down to two degrees Celsius, its crystal structure and electronic properties change abruptly and significantly. In this new state, the distances between iron atoms can be tailored with the help of light beams. This opens up intriguing possibilities for application in the field of information technology. The scientists have presented their discovery in the journal "Angewandte Chemie - International Edition". The new findings are the result of close cooperation with partnering facilities in Augsburg, Dresden, Hamburg, and Moscow.

The material is an unusual form of iron oxide with the formula Fe₅O₆. The researchers produced it at a pressure of 15 gigapascals in a high-pressure laboratory...

Im Focus: From China to the South Pole: Joining forces to solve the neutrino mass puzzle

Study by Mainz physicists indicates that the next generation of neutrino experiments may well find the answer to one of the most pressing issues in neutrino physics

Among the most exciting challenges in modern physics is the identification of the neutrino mass ordering. Physicists from the Cluster of Excellence PRISMA+ at...

Im Focus: Therapies without drugs

Fraunhofer researchers are investigating the potential of microimplants to stimulate nerve cells and treat chronic conditions like asthma, diabetes, or Parkinson’s disease. Find out what makes this form of treatment so appealing and which challenges the researchers still have to master.

A study by the Robert Koch Institute has found that one in four women will suffer from weak bladders at some point in their lives. Treatments of this condition...

Im Focus: A step towards controlling spin-dependent petahertz electronics by material defects

The operational speed of semiconductors in various electronic and optoelectronic devices is limited to several gigahertz (a billion oscillations per second). This constrains the upper limit of the operational speed of computing. Now researchers from the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter in Hamburg, Germany, and the Indian Institute of Technology in Bombay have explained how these processes can be sped up through the use of light waves and defected solid materials.

Light waves perform several hundred trillion oscillations per second. Hence, it is natural to envision employing light oscillations to drive the electronic...

Im Focus: Freiburg researcher investigate the origins of surface texture

Most natural and artificial surfaces are rough: metals and even glasses that appear smooth to the naked eye can look like jagged mountain ranges under the microscope. There is currently no uniform theory about the origin of this roughness despite it being observed on all scales, from the atomic to the tectonic. Scientists suspect that the rough surface is formed by irreversible plastic deformation that occurs in many processes of mechanical machining of components such as milling.

Prof. Dr. Lars Pastewka from the Simulation group at the Department of Microsystems Engineering at the University of Freiburg and his team have simulated such...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

70th Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting: Around 70 Laureates set to meet with young scientists from approx. 100 countries

12.02.2020 | Event News

11th Advanced Battery Power Conference, March 24-25, 2020 in Münster/Germany

16.01.2020 | Event News

Laser Colloquium Hydrogen LKH2: fast and reliable fuel cell manufacturing

15.01.2020 | Event News

 
Latest News

New molten metal hybrid filters from TU Freiberg will make components even safer and more resistant in the future

28.02.2020 | Materials Sciences

Polymers get caught up in love-hate chemistry of oil and water

28.02.2020 | Life Sciences

Two NE tree species can be used in new sustainable building material

28.02.2020 | Architecture and Construction

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>