Breakthrough in particle control creates special half-vortex rotation

March 3, 2015

A breakthrough in the control of a type of particle known as the polariton has created a highly specialised form of rotation.

Researchers at the Universities of Strathclyde and Pittsburgh, and Princeton University, conducted a test in which they were able to arrange the particles into a 'ring geometry' form in a solid-state environment. The result was a half-vortex in a 'quantised rotation' form.

This experiment had previously been possible only with the use of , a fraction of a degree above , but new techniques enabled the researchers to perform the test at higher temperatures. This made for a simpler, more efficient system which could feed into research for new technologies.

Professor Andrew Daley, of Strathclyde's Department of Physics, was part of the research team and worked on the underlying model of the experiment, which was performed in Pittsburgh.

He said: "This type of is but also has applications in quantum technology; much of our research revolves around controlling and understanding these quantum systems. This type of research led in the past to the understanding of building a transistor or a laser.

"Fringes were seen across the entire image of the ring we created, showing that we were controlling the polaritons in a coherent way and that they were displaying collective behaviour, as opposed to behaving as individuals. We were then able to demonstrate unusual states where the particles rotated in the ring at rates that were quantised. The phenomena we observed, known as half-vortices, are peculiar to situations where two different kinds of particles rotate in a superfluid – that is, the particles also must flow with no resistance.

"In this experiment, the polaritons had a much longer lifetime than in previous experiments, which made this possible. The ring made in our work can be created relatively easily in solid-state systems that can operate up to room temperature; this opens the door to all kinds of other superfluid light effects, which could have applications in optical communications."

Explore further: Spiral laser beam creates quantum whirlpool

More information: Gangqiang Liu, David W. Snoke, Andrew Daley, Loren N. Pfeiffer, and Ken West, "A new type of half-quantum circulation in a macroscopic polariton spinor ring condensate," PNAS, DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1424549112

Related Stories

Spiral laser beam creates quantum whirlpool

November 17, 2014

(Phys.org) —Physicists at Australian National University have engineered a spiral laser beam and used it to create a whirlpool of hybrid light-matter particles called polaritons.

The power of light-matter coupling

February 5, 2015

A theoretical study shows that strong ties between light and organic matter at the nanoscale open the door to modifying these coupled systems' optical, electronic or chemical properties.

Ultra-cold atom transport made simple

July 7, 2014

Techniques for controlling ultra-cold atoms travelling in ring traps currently represent an important research area in physics. A new study gives a proof of principle, confirmed by numerical simulations, of the applicability ...

Recommended for you

Carefully crafted light pulses control neuron activity

November 17, 2017

Specially tailored, ultrafast pulses of light can trigger neurons to fire and could one day help patients with light-sensitive circadian or mood problems, according to a new study in mice at the University of Illinois.

Strain-free epitaxy of germanium film on mica

November 17, 2017

Germanium, an elemental semiconductor, was the material of choice in the early history of electronic devices, before it was largely replaced by silicon. But due to its high charge carrier mobility—higher than silicon by ...

New imaging technique peers inside living cells

November 16, 2017

To undergo high-resolution imaging, cells often must be sliced and diced, dehydrated, painted with toxic stains, or embedded in resin. For cells, the result is certain death.

1 comment

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

hillmeister
not rated yet Mar 03, 2015
This is huge! If D-Wave is paying attention to this research they can start making a quantum annealing computer that can operate at room temperature without the need for cooling or strong magnetic fields. This would push the quantum computing community to focus on polaritons more and we will have room temperature coherent universal quantum computers possible in just a few years!

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.