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NIST ion duet offers tunable module for quantum simulator
Date:8/6/2014

ns, and making traps using the same technology used to make computer chips gives us this capability. NIST pioneered this approach and we're fortunate to have great facilities for doing this sort of work."

Inducing the ions to perform a number of intricate quantum dances, the researchers first coaxed the ions to exchange a single quantum of vibrational energy (the smallest amount that nature allows). They then used lasers and microwaves to entangle the ions' "spins." Analogous to tiny bar magnets, the spins of the entangled ions pointed in the same direction, but were also in a "superposition" of pointing in the opposite direction at the same time. Superposition is another strange but useful feature of the quantum world.

The researchers say that extending the new module to make a two-dimensional network of a few tens of ions would be enough to perform useful simulations of phenomena that are extremely difficult to model even on the most powerful traditional computers. An example is the high-temperature superconductitivityelectron flow without resistanceobserved in certain ceramics. Despite more than 20 years of study, the underlying mechanism remains a mystery. A quantum simulator might provide deeper insights.

The ion duet also could be used to perform logic operations in quantum computers, which would have a wider range of applications than quantum simulators. And NIST researchers also envision the ion duet as a sensor, in which one well-controlled ion is used to investigate a second ion with interesting features. For instance, a beryllium ion might be used to probe a charged anti-matter particle in another trap zone, Wilson says.


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Contact: Laura Ost
laura.ost@nist.gov
303-497-4880
National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST)
Source:Eurekalert  

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NIST ion duet offers tunable module for quantum simulator
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