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Research News

September 27, 2017 | PFC | Research News

Turning ions into quantum cats

In Schrödinger's famous thought experiment, a cat seems to be both dead and alive—an idea that strains credulity. These days, cats still don't act this way, but physicists now regularly create analogues of Schrödinger's cat in the lab by smearing the microscopic quantum world over longer and longer distances.

Such "cat states" have found many homes, promising more sensitive quantum measurements and acting as the basis for quantum error-correcting codes—a necessary component for future error-prone quantum computers.

September 26, 2017 | PFC | Research News

Sensing atoms caught in ripples of light

Optical fibers are ubiquitous, carrying light wherever it is needed. These glass tunnels are the high-speed railway of information transit, moving data at incredible speeds over tremendous distances. Fibers are also thin and flexible, so they can be immersed in many different environments, including the human body, where they are employed for illumination and imaging.

September 8, 2017 | Research News

UMD to host 200 scientists for quantum error correction conference

Nearly 200 researchers from around the world will descend on the University of Maryland campus next week for the 4th International Conference on Quantum Error Correction (QEC17), the world’s premier scientific meeting focused on protecting quantum computers from their hostile surroundings.

This year’s conference, which will be held Sept. 11–15, is organized by researchers from the Joint Center for Quantum Information and Computer Science (QuICS) and Georgia Tech.

September 1, 2017 | PFC | Research News

Long-range interactions leave a quantum reminder

Given enough time, a forgotten cup of coffee will lose its appeal and cool to room temperature. One way of telling this tepid tale involves a stupendous number of coffee molecules colliding like billiard balls with themselves and colder molecules in the air above. Those constant collisions siphon energy away from the coffee, bit by bit, in a process that physicists call thermalization.

August 2, 2017 | Research News

Simulating the quantum world with electron traps

This story was prepared by the Delft University of Technology (TU Delft) and adapted with permission. The experiments described were performed at TU Delft, with theoretical and numerical contributions from JQI Fellow and Condensed Matter Theory Center Director Sankar Das Sarma and JQI postdoctoral researcher Xiao Li.

July 12, 2017 | PFC | Research News

Atomic cousins team up in early quantum networking node

Large-scale quantum computers, which are an active pursuit of many university labs and tech giants, remain years away. But that hasn’t stopped some scientists from thinking ahead, to a time when quantum computers might be linked together in a network or a single quantum computer might be split up across many interconnected nodes.

June 23, 2017 | Research News

Tiny magnetic tremors unlock exotic superconductivity

Deep within solids, individual electrons zip around on a nanoscale highway paved with atoms. For the most part, these electrons avoid one another, kept in separate lanes by their mutual repulsion. But vibrations in the atomic road can blur their lanes and sometimes allow the tiny particles to pair up. The result is smooth and lossless travel, and it’s one way to create superconductivity.

June 23, 2017 | Research News

Quantum Thermometer or Optical Refrigerator?

From NIST News

In an arranged marriage of optics and mechanics, JQI-NIST physicists have created microscopic structural beams that have a variety of powerful uses when light strikes them. Able to operate in ordinary, room-temperature environments, yet exploiting some of the deepest principles of quantum physics, these optomechanical systems can act as inherently accurate thermometers, or conversely, as a type of optical shield that diverts heat. 

June 12, 2017 | PFC | Research News

Neural networks take on quantum entanglement

Machine learning, the field that’s driving a revolution in artificial intelligence, has cemented its role in modern technology. Its tools and techniques have led to rapid improvements in everything from self-driving cars and speech recognition to the digital mastery of an ancient board game.

May 9, 2017 | Research News

Tiny tug unleashes cryogenic currents

Researchers have found that a small stretch is enough to unleash the exotic electrical properties of a newly discovered topological insulator, unshackling a behavior previously locked away at cryogenic temperatures.

April 13, 2017 | PFC | Research News

Trapped ions and superconductors face off in quantum benchmark

The race to build larger and larger quantum computers is heating up, with several technologies competing for a role in future devices. Each potential platform has strengths and weaknesses, but little has been done to directly compare the performance of early prototypes. Now, researchers at the JQI have performed a first-of-its-kind benchmark test of two small quantum computers built from different technologies.