Breakthrough paper on the Aharonov-Bohm effect published

May 14, 2014 by Sheri Ledbetter
Chapman University affiliated physicist publishes on the Aharonov-Bohm effect in Nature
The experimental trapping system (linear Paul trap) and the triangular structure of the three ions are shown. Credit: Yutaka Shikano

Chapman University affiliated quantum physicist Yutaka Shikano, Ph.D., has published a milestone paper in the journal Nature Communications. The title of the article is "Aharonov-Bohm effect with quantum tunneling in linear Paul trap." The Aharonov-Bohm (AB) effect was proposed by Yakir Aharonov, who is the co-director of the Institute for Quantum Studies at Chapman University, and David J. Bohm in 1959.

The AB effect showed for the first time that a magnetic field inside a confined region can have a measureable impact on a charged particle which never traveled inside the region. This purely quantum effect, verified in a multitude of experimental set-ups, is at the heart of much of modern physics. In 1986, Akira Tonomura and his coworkers used electron holography (which is a key technology behind the electron microscope) to empirically prove the existence of the Aharonov-Bohm effect.

Another aspect of is "tunneling," a phenomenon in which a particle can go places where it is not allowed to go classically, and a fundamental component of the Nature paper. Applications of tunneling include nuclear fusion, the diode used throughout electronics, and different types of microscopes. Although it has been observed on large scales, no one has yet actually measured the tunneling of a single particle until now. Yutaka Shikano, who is an affiliated member of the Institute for Quantum Studies at Chapman and a research associate professor at the Research Center of Integrative Molecular Systems (CIMoS), Institute for Molecular Science and the Urabe group of Osaka University observed this effect for the first time.

The experiment was performed at Osaka University using an ion trap system. Due to recent developments of quantum technology, the team was able to manipulate the ground state of an ion using laser cooling. They used three calcium ions arranged in a triangular structure. The observed tunneling was between the upward and downward triangular configurations. When they changed the strength of the , it showed that the likelihood of a transition oscillated as originally predicted by the Aharonov-Bohm effect.

Co-Director of the Institute for Quantum Studies, Prof. Jeff Tollaksen commented: "Quantum theory is considered by many to be the most successful theory in history and has led to a profound understanding of the microscopic world of atoms. Theoretical physics has yielded the most significant benefits for our society at the lowest costs. Discoveries in fundamental physics often lead to new industries: from electricity to smartphones to satellites. Quantum physics resulted in technological advances that drive our economy, such as the entire computer revolution, electronics, and the nuclear power industry. In addition, it impacts many other disciplines such as genetics, medicine and mathematics. Experts therefore estimate that nearly half the wealth created in the 20th century arose from quantum physics. At the Institute, we're committed to producing the next generation of breakthroughs which will lead to the technology of the 21st century. Similarly, I'm sure this breakthrough of Prof. Shikano and co-authors will lead to many new applications, such as the ability to more carefully control a particle while it is tunneling."

Explore further: Exploring the magnetism of a single atom

More information: Aharonov–Bohm effect in the tunnelling of a quantum rotor in a linear Paul trap, Nature Communications 5, Article number: 3868 DOI: 10.1038/ncomms4868

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jalmy
2.3 / 5 (6) May 14, 2014
The last paragraph of this article is such a complete and total farce. Literally every sentence of it is wrong. In fact I could go as far as to say every statement of the last paragraph is a complete fabrication of reality. I mean "Experts therefore estimate that nearly half the wealth created in the 20th century arose from quantum physics." Is this guy f-ing serious? "Quantum physics resulted in technological advances that drive our economy, such as the entire computer revolution, electronics, and the nuclear power industry." LOLOLOL Did one or both influence aspects of the other? Unquestionably. The vacuum tube predated any quantum anything. The FET was created by physical scientist tinkering in a lab, it was bound to happen. Yes theory influences invention, just as invention influences theory. In fact I would say more often then not theory has to catch up to explain invention after the fact.
philw1776
1 / 5 (1) May 14, 2014
You're ignoring one cogent example, that quantum theory enabled transistor theory & technology which yes is a huge source of 20th century wealth. Say Hi! to the internet, through your smart phone.
Pejico
May 15, 2014
This comment has been removed by a moderator.
Pejico
May 15, 2014
This comment has been removed by a moderator.
dirk_bruere
5 / 5 (1) May 15, 2014
People tend to think that theory precedes practice, but this is often not the case.
Writela
not rated yet May 15, 2014
Theories are good for prediction of deterministic phenomena, where transverse wave physics, low dimensionality and single particle interactions are involved. The longitudinal wave physics and emergent phenomena are usually revealed accidentally. But it's not true, that this physics has no theories developed yet - they're just not accepted with mainstream. For example the theories of scalar wave physics of Eric Dullard or Konstantin Meyl are quite elaborated already. Another not quite insignificant sector is represented with classified theories, which are kept in secret intentionally.
jalmy
not rated yet May 15, 2014
You're ignoring one cogent example, that quantum theory enabled transistor theory & technology which yes is a huge source of 20th century wealth. Say Hi! to the internet, through your smart phone.


I think the creation of a transistor enabled transistor theory. Sorry but you need to check your facts, and dates. The vacuum tube existed before quantum theory existed. I doubt the guys who invented the transistor knew anything about quantum theory. At the time it was highly theoretical at best. They were some dudes playing with materials and electricity, and made a breakthrough discovery that in turn forced theorists to confirm some theory and rule out others. This is the case with most technology. Theory predating a device is the exception not the rule. You might as well say quantum theory enables the sun to shine. Like most of nature it works weather we have a theory or understanding of it or not. Eggheads trying to seam important is what theoretical science is.
Writela
not rated yet May 15, 2014
quantum theory enabled transistor theory & technology
Actually the band model of semiconductors is semiclassical one because of many charge carriers involved. The inventor of transistor (Lilienfeld, 1925) had no idea about quantum theory, which rather explains, where the limits of transistor technology are. It applies rather to end than the beginning of transistor technology. The first semiconductor technology where the quantum mechanics actually applied were the Esaki's tunnel diodes, which were used in 60's of the last century and which never penetrated the mainstream.
Pejico
May 16, 2014
This comment has been removed by a moderator.
johanfprins
not rated yet May 19, 2014
The AB effect showed for the first time that a magnetic field inside a confined region can have a measureable impact on a charged particle which never traveled inside the region.
This is of course Voodoo-nonsense since the centre-of-charge of a diffracting electron-wave moves smack-bang through the magnetic-field between the two slits. The deflection of the wave is exactly what one expects when the Lorentz-force acts on this centre-of-charge.

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