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Research News

April 8, 2020 | PFC | Research News

Charting a Course Toward Quantum Simulations of Nuclear Physics

In nuclear physics, like much of science, detailed theories alone aren’t always enough to unlock solid predictions. There are often too many pieces, interacting in complex ways, for researchers to follow the logic of a theory through to its end. It’s one reason there are still so many mysteries in nature, including how the universe’s basic building blocks coalesce and form stars and galaxies. The same is true in high-energy experiments, in which particles like protons smash together at incredible speeds to create extreme conditions similar to those just after the Big Bang.

March 31, 2020 | Research News

To Tune Up Your Quantum Computer, Better Call an AI Mechanic

A high-end race car engine needs all its components tuned and working together precisely to deliver top-quality performance. The same can be said about the processor inside a quantum computer, whose delicate bits must be adjusted in just the right way before it can perform a calculation. Who’s the right mechanic for this quantum tuneup job? According to a team that includes scientists at JQI and the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), it’s an artificial intelligence, that’s who.

December 23, 2019 | PFC | Research News

Synthetic Magnetism Leads Photons on a 2D Quantum Walk

Randomness governs many things, from the growth of cell colonies and the agglomeration of polymers to the shapes of tendrils that form when you pour cream into a cup of coffee.

Since as early as 1905, scientists have described these seemingly unrelated phenomena in a unified way: as random walks. By imagining that individual particles or molecules are constantly taking steps in a random direction, researchers have successfully modeled many of the complexities of classical physics.

December 17, 2019 | PFC | Research News

Remote Quantum Systems Produce Interfering Photons

Scientists at the Joint Quantum Institute (JQI) have observed, for the first time, interference between particles of light created using a trapped ion and a collection of neutral atoms. Their results could be an essential step toward the realization of a distributed network of quantum computers capable of processing information in novel ways.

November 14, 2019 | Research News

A Twist and a Spin

By cleverly manipulating two properties of a neutron beam, scientists at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and their collaborators have created a powerful probe of materials that have complex and twisted magnetic structures.

October 18, 2019 | PFC | Research News

Hybrid Device among First to Meld Quantum and Conventional Computing

Researchers at the University of Maryland (UMD) have trained a small hybrid quantum computer to reproduce the features in a particular set of images.

October 14, 2019 | PFC | Research News

Stretched Photons Recover Lost Interference

The smallest pieces of nature—individual particles like electrons, for instance—are pretty much interchangeable. An electron is an electron is an electron, regardless of whether it’s stuck in a lab on Earth, bound to an atom in some chalky moon dust or shot out of an extragalactic black hole in a superheated jet. In practice, though, differences in energy, motion or location can make it easy to tell two electrons apart.

August 16, 2019 | Research News

Ions clear another hurdle toward scaled-up quantum computing

Scientists at the Joint Quantum Institute (JQI) have been steadily improving the performance of ion trap systems, a leading platform for future quantum computers. Now, a team of researchers led by JQI Fellows Norbert Linke and Christopher Monroe has performed a key experiment on five ion-based quantum bits, or qubits. They used laser pulses to simultaneously create quantum connections between different pairs of qubits—the first time these kinds of parallel operations have been executed in an ion trap.

August 2, 2019 | PFC | Research News

Corkscrew photons may leave behind a spontaneous twist

Everything radiates. Whether it's a car door, a pair of shoes or the cover of a book, anything hotter than absolute zero (i.e., pretty much everything) is constantly shedding radiation in the form of photons, the quantum particles of light.

A twin process—absorption—is usually also present. As photons carry away energy, passers-by from the environment can be absorbed to replenish it. When absorption and emission occur at the same rate, scientists say that an object is in equilibrium with its environment. This often means that object and environment share the same temperature.

June 19, 2019 | Research News

Perfect quantum portal emerges at exotic interface

Researchers at the University of Maryland have captured the most direct evidence to date of a quantum quirk that allows particles to tunnel through a barrier like it’s not even there. The result, featured on the cover of the June 20, 2019 issue of the journal Nature, may enable engineers to design more uniform components for future quantum computers, quantum sensors and other devices.