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Innovative device for quantum simulations
Date:6/7/2011

ids originate from mutual interactions among many electrons. Exact calculations of the behavior of these complex systems are an impossible task even for the more sophisticated and powerful computers. Quantum simulators help bypass the problem by replacing the "uncomputable" quantum system with a controllable artificial one that is able to emulate the dynamics of the original system.

"Quantum simulators based on novel artificial semiconductor structures are at the crossroads of quantum science and innovative technologies," says Aron Pinczuk, Applied Physics Professor at The Fu Foundation School of Engineering and Applied Science and Physics Professor at the School of Arts and Sciences, Columbia University. "While the frontiers of quantum physics are being explored with giant accelerators, in this branch of condensed matter science we employ advanced methods that expand the state-of-the-art in growth and processing of semiconductors. We could describe our work on quantum simulators as 'probing quantum weirdness in a nano-nut-shell.'"

The simulator developed by the researchers consists of a honeycomb lattice realized on the surface of a Gallium Arsenide (GaAs) heterostructure using advanced nanofabrication methods. The artificial honeycomb lattice structure replicates that of graphene, a material in which electrons behave in a peculiar way because of the crystal-lattice geometry. With the ability to modify key parameters such as the lattice constant of the artificial lattice, the researchers are in the position to explore different regimes of electron-electron interactions in graphene-like systems.

Vittorio Pellegrini and Marco Polini from NEST Laboratory of Istituto Nanoscienze-Cnr and Scuola Normale Superiore note that the AG-device has been tested with a "first run" trial that generated an unexpected peculiar quantum state. "The early data we collected are quite promising and show the great potential our device has," they say. "The next step in this
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Contact: Holly Evarts
holly@engineering.columbia.edu
212-854-3206
Columbia University
Source:Eurekalert

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