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Scientists shed light on the private lives of electrons
Date:6/30/2011

A Princeton researcher and his international collaborators have used lasers to peek into the complex relationship between a single electron and its environment, a breakthrough that could aid the development of quantum computers.

The technique reveals how an isolated electron and its surroundings develop a relationship known as a Kondo state a state of matter that is of great interest to physicists and engineers. The results not only yield insights into a long-standing quandary in theoretical physics, but also may help scientists understand how to store information at the smallest possible scales, which would open vast new realms of computing power.

"What we've done is illuminate the private life of a single electron," said Hakan Tureci, an assistant professor of electrical engineering at Princeton and a lead researcher on the project. "It's taken nearly a century to isolate, control and probe a single electron in this way an extraordinary feat enabled by quantum theory, cryogenics and nanotechnology."

The research was conducted by an international team of scientists from the United States, Germany and Switzerland. The researchers on the project included Tureci, Atac Imamoglu, a professor at Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich in Switzerland, Jan von Delft, a professor at LMU Munich, and Leonid Glazman, a professor at Yale University.

The key theoretical results and a proposal for testing the ideas experimentally were published March 11 in the journal Physical Review Letters.

These theoretical projections were recently confirmed in experiments led by Imamoglu, which were published today in the journal Nature.

The research brings fresh insight to the study of the Kondo problem, a phenomenon first observed in the 1930s, when researchers were surprised to find that resistance to electricity flowing through certain metals increases at very low temperatures. Normally, resistance through metal
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Contact: Chris Emery
cemery@princeton.edu
609-258-4597
Princeton University, Engineering School
Source:Eurekalert  

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