Navigation Links
Quantum hot potato: NIST researchers entice 2 atoms to swap smallest energy units
Date:2/23/2011

BOULDER, Colo.Physicists at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) have for the first time coaxed two atoms in separate locations to take turns jiggling back and forth while swapping the smallest measurable units of energy. By directly linking the motions of two physically separated atoms, the technique has the potential to simplify information processing in future quantum computers and simulations.

Described in a paper published Feb. 23 by Nature,* the NIST experiments enticed two beryllium ions (electrically charged atoms) to take turns vibrating in an electromagnetic trap, exchanging units of energy, or quanta, that are a hallmark of quantum mechanics. As little as one quantum was traded back and forth in these exchanges, signifying that the ions are "coupled" or linked together. These ions also behave like objects in the larger, everyday world in that they are "harmonic oscillators" similar to pendulums and tuning forks, making repetitive, back-and-forth motions.

"First one ion is jiggling a little and the other is not moving at all; then the jiggling motion switches to the other ion. The smallest amount of energy you could possibly see is moving between the ions," explains first author Kenton Brown, a NIST post-doctoral researcher. "We can also tune the coupling, which affects how fast they exchange energy and to what degree. We can turn the interaction on and off."

The experiments were made possible by a novel, one-layer ion trap cooled to minus 269 C (minus 452 F) with a liquid helium bath. The ions, 40 micrometers apart, float above the surface of the trap. In contrast to a conventional two-layer trap, the surface trap features smaller electrodes and can position ions closer together, enabling stronger coupling. Chilling to cryogenic temperatures suppresses unwanted heat that can distort ion behavior.

The energy swapping demonstrations begin by cooling both ions with a laser to slow their motion. Then one ion is cooled further to a motionless state with two opposing ultraviolet laser beams. Next the coupling interaction is turned on by tuning the voltages of the trap electrodes. In separate experiments reported in Nature, NIST researchers measured the ions swapping energy at levels of several quanta every 155 microseconds and at the single quantum level somewhat less frequently, every 218 microseconds. Theoretically, the ions could swap energy indefinitely until the process is disrupted by heating. NIST scientists observed two round-trip exchanges at the single quantum level.

To detect and measure the ions' activity, NIST scientists apply an oscillating pulse to the trap at different frequencies while illuminating both ions with an ultraviolet laser and analyzing the scattered light. Each ion has its own characteristic vibration frequency; when excited, the motion reduces the amount of laser light absorbed. Dimming of the scattered light tells scientists an ion is vibrating at a particular pulse frequency.

To turn on the coupling interaction, scientists use electrode voltages to tune the frequencies of the two ions, nudging them closer together. The coupling is strongest when the frequencies are closest. The motions become linked due to the electrostatic interactions of the positively charged ions, which tend to repel each other. Coupling associates each ion with both characteristic frequencies.

The new experiments are similar to the same NIST research group's 2009 demonstration of entanglementa quantum phenomenon linking properties of separated particlesin a mechanical system of two separated pairs of vibrating ions (see http://www.nist.gov/pml/div688/jost_060309.cfm). However, the new experiments coupled the oscillators' motions more directly than before and, therefore, may simplify information processing. In this case the researchers observed quantum behavior but did not verify entanglement.

The new technique could be useful in a future quantum computer, which would use quantum systems such as ions to solve problems that are intractable today. For example, quantum computers could break today's most widely used data encryption codes. Direct coupling of ions in separate locations could simplify logic operations and help correct processing errors. The technique is also a feature of proposals for quantum simulations, which may help explain the mechanisms of complex quantum systems such as high-temperature superconductors.

In addition, the demonstration also suggests that similar interactions could be used to connect different types of quantum systems, such as a trapped ion and a particle of light (photon), to transfer information in a future quantum network. For example, a trapped ion could act as a "quantum transformer" between a superconducting quantum bit (qubit) and a qubit made of photons.


'/>"/>

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

Related biology technology :

1. Dr. Stefan Strauf of physics at Stevens receives NSF CAREER Award for quantum research
2. UCSB physicists challenge classical world with quantum-mechanical implementation of shell game
3. TU scientists in Nature: Better control of building blocks for quantum computer
4. Ben-Gurion University nano researcher to receive prestigious award for laser science and quantum physics
5. Quantum computers a step closer to reality thanks to new finding
6. Quantum entanglement in photosynthesis and evolution
7. This little light of mine: Changing the color of single photons emitted by quantum dots
8. UBC, Max Planck formalize partnership among worlds top quantum physicists
9. Single electron reader opens path for quantum computing
10. Optical chip enables new approach to quantum computing
11. NIST researchers hear puzzling new physics from graphene quartets quantum harmonies
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
Related Image:
Quantum hot potato: NIST researchers entice 2 atoms to swap smallest energy units
(Date:1/18/2017)... January 18, 2017 According to a new market research ... Cytology, Infectious Disease), & End User (Molecular Diagnostic Laboratories, Academic and Research Institutions) ... reach USD 739.9 Million by 2021 from USD 557.1 Million in 2016, growing ... ... MarketsandMarkets Logo ...
(Date:1/18/2017)... Mass. , Jan. 18, 2017 ... applying mechanistic modeling to drug research and development, ... PhD, Co-Founder, President, and CEO of Applied BioMath, ... for Informatics and Modeling (BAGIM) Meeting on Thursday ... Cambridge , MA.   Dr. Burke,s ...
(Date:1/18/2017)... (PRWEB) , ... January 18, 2017 , ... ... for Clinical Ops Executives 2017 in its continued commitment to the advancement of ... makers to discuss current issues related to clinical trial planning and management. ...
(Date:1/18/2017)... ... January 18, 2017 , ... Whitehouse Labs has furthered ... Molecular Research, Inc. (AMRI), the scientific staff dedicated to Extractables / Leachables & ... further growth in 2017. Extractable & Leachable evaluations have become increasingly more vital ...
Breaking Biology Technology:
(Date:1/4/2017)... , Jan. 4, 2017  CES 2017 – ... biometric sensor technology, today announced the launch of ... sensor systems, the highly-accurate biometric sensor modules that ... biometric technology, experience and expertise. The two new ... designed specifically for hearables, and Benchmark BW2.0, a ...
(Date:12/20/2016)... , Dec. 20, 2016 The ... sharing, rental and leasing is stoking significant interest ... radio frequency technology, Bluetooth low energy (BLE), biometrics ... as the next wave of wireless technologies in ... access system to advanced access systems opens the ...
(Date:12/16/2016)... Research and Markets has announced the addition ... to 2021" report to their offering. ... The biometric vehicle access system market, ... of 14.06% from 2016 to 2021. The market is estimated to ... 854.8 Million by 2021. The growth of the biometric vehicle access ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):