Dance like a neutrino: Quantum scheme to simulate neutrino oscillations

Mar 21, 2012

The behaviour of some of the most elusive particles in the known universe can be simulated using three atoms in a lab, researchers at the Centre for Quantum Technologies (CQT) at the National University of Singapore have found.

Principal Investigator Dimitris G. Angelakis and his group members Changsuk Noh and Blas Rodriguez-Lara have devised a scheme that uses the quantum states of three charged ions to simulate the 'oscillations' of neutrinos. The proposal is published in the March issue of .

Neutrinos are pesky things to study: they barely interact with matter and have a very tiny mass. Experiments to study them typically use vast detectors to capture neutrinos produced in the Sun or in . Physicists would like more than such experiments have so far yielded since neutrino behaviour could provide a first glimpse of physics beyond the current Standard Model.

The new technique simulates the phenomenon known as neutrino oscillation: neutrinos flipping between their three types - electron, muon and tau - as they propagate. (No, the simulation won't help determine whether neutrinos travel faster than light, unfortunately.)

In the scheme, the three neutrino types are encoded in the quantum states of three ions, each having two energy levels. The ions are contained in an . Additional lasers set the ions vibrating - the vibrations contribute to making the trapped ions behave mathematically like fast-flying particles - and manipulate the ions' energy states. The team hope to collaborate with experimentalists to realise the quantum simulation.

Neutrino oscillations in standard theory are easily calculated; however, the CQT researchers say the simulator could prove useful in exploring more exotic models of neutrino behaviour. The new scheme could also inspire simulations of other types of particles that come in three families such as quarks, the particles that form protons and neutrons, says Noh, the paper's first author.

Explore further: Superabsorbing ring could make light work of snaps

More information: For further details, see "Quantum simulation of neutrino oscillations with trapped ions", New J. Phys. 14, 033028 (2012). iopscience.iop.org/1367-2630/14/3/033028/

A preprint is available at arXiv:1108.0182. arxiv.org/abs/1108.0182

Provided by Centre for Quantum Technologies at the National University of Singapore

4.9 /5 (7 votes)
add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

New results confirm standard neutrino theory

Feb 16, 2010

(PhysOrg.com) -- In its search for a better understanding of the mysterious neutrinos, a group of experimenters at DOE’s Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory has announced results that confirm the theory ...

CERN neutrino project on target

Aug 16, 2005

Scientists at CERN announced the completion of the target assembly for the CERN neutrinos to Gran Sasso project, CNGS. On schedule for start-up in May 2006, CNGS will send a beam of neutrinos through the Earth to the Gran ...

Neutrinos change flavors while crossing Japan

Jun 15, 2011

By shooting a beam of neutrinos through a small slice of the Earth under Japan, physicists say they've caught the particles changing their stripes in new ways. These observations may one day help explain why the universe ...

Green light for the neutrino beam from Cern to Gran Sasso

Sep 12, 2006

The delivery of the neutrino beam (Cngs) from Cern and the beginning of a new generation of experiments were officially celebrated today at Infn (Italian National Institute for Nuclear Physics) National Laboratories of Gran ...

Recommended for you

What is Nothing?

23 hours ago

Is there any place in the Universe where there's truly nothing? Consider the gaps between stars and galaxies? Or the gaps between atoms? What are the properties of nothing?

On the hunt for dark matter

Aug 22, 2014

New University of Adelaide Future Fellow Dr Martin White is starting a research project that has the potential to redirect the experiments of thousands of physicists around the world who are trying to identify the nature ...

User comments : 1

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

Callippo
5 / 5 (1) Mar 21, 2012
Upvoted for link to preprint. The waves of trapped ions are known as a Bloch waves. But what this similarity means? Is it analogy with some deeper meaning - or just an accidental homology?