World's fastest quantum simulator operating at the atomic level

November 16, 2016
Schematic explanation of the world's fastest quantum simulator. Credit: NINS/IMS

Kenji Ohmori (Institute for Molecular Science, National Institutes of Natural Sciences, Japan) and a group of collaborators have developed the world's fastest simulator for the quantum mechanical dynamics of a large number of particles interacting with each other within one billionths of a second.

The dynamics of interactions between of electrons govern a variety of important physical and chemical phenomena, including superconductivity, magnetism and chemical reactions. An ensemble of many particles thus interacting with each other is referred to as a "strongly correlated system." Understanding the of strongly correlated systems is thus one of the central goals of modern sciences. It is extremely difficult, however, to predict theoretically the properties of a strongly correlated system even using the Japanese post-K supercomputer, which is planned for completion by the year 2020.

For example, the post-K cannot even calculate the precise energy, the most basic property of matter, when the number of particles in the system is more than 30. Instead of calculating with a classical computer such as the post-K, an alternative concept, a "," has been proposed, in which quantum mechanical particles such as atoms are assembled into an artificial strongly correlated system whose properties are known and controllable. The latter is then used to simulate and understand the properties of a different strongly correlated system whose properties are not known.

The team has now developed a completely new quantum simulator for the dynamics of a strongly correlated system of more than 40 atoms within one billionths of a second. This has been realized by introducing a novel approach in which an at a pulse-width of only 100 billionths of a second is employed to control a high-density ensemble of atoms cooled to temperatures close to absolute zero. Furthermore, they have succeeded in simulating the motion of electrons of this strongly correlated system that is modulated by changing the strength of interactions among many atoms in the ensemble.

This "ultrafast quantum simulator" is expected to serve as a basic tool to investigate the origin of physical properties of matter including magnetism and, possibly, superconductivity.

This result will be published in Nature Communications on 16th November 2016.

Explore further: Bridging the gap between the quantum and classical worlds

More information: Direct observation of ultrafast many-body electron dynamics in an ultracold Rydberg gas, Nature Communications, DOI: 10.1038/NCOMMS13449

Related Stories

Bridging the gap between the quantum and classical worlds

August 2, 2016

In the quantum world, physicists study the tiny particles that make up our classical world - neutrons, electrons, photons - either one at a time or in small numbers because the behaviour of the particles is completely different ...

The atom without properties

April 21, 2016

The microscopic world is governed by the rules of quantum mechanics, where the properties of a particle can be completely undetermined and yet strongly correlated with those of other particles. Physicists from the University ...

A quantum of light for materials science

December 1, 2015

Computer simulations that predict the light-induced change in the physical and chemical properties of complex systems, molecules, nanostructures and solids usually ignore the quantum nature of light. Scientists of the Max-Planck ...

Quantum simulator gives clues about magnetism

May 15, 2014

Assembling the puzzles of quantum materials is, in some ways, like dipping a wire hanger into a vat of soapy water, says CIFAR (Canadian Institute for Advanced Research) Fellow Joseph Thywissen (University of Toronto).

Recommended for you

Quantum internet goes hybrid

November 22, 2017

In a recent study published in Nature, ICFO researchers led by ICREA Prof. Hugues de Riedmatten report an elementary "hybrid" quantum network link and demonstrate photonic quantum communication between two distinct quantum ...

Enhancing the quantum sensing capabilities of diamond

November 22, 2017

Researchers have discovered that dense ensembles of quantum spins can be created in diamond with high resolution using an electron microscopes, paving the way for enhanced sensors and resources for quantum technologies.

Study shows how to get sprayed metal coatings to stick

November 21, 2017

When bonding two pieces of metal, either the metals must melt a bit where they meet or some molten metal must be introduced between the pieces. A solid bond then forms when the metal solidifies again. But researchers at MIT ...

Imaging technique unlocks the secrets of 17th century artists

November 21, 2017

The secrets of 17th century artists can now be revealed, thanks to 21st century signal processing. Using modern high-speed scanners and the advanced signal processing techniques, researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology ...

1 comment

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

not rated yet Nov 23, 2016
Would it not be simpler to start with atomic structure in the simulator?

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.