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Research News

February 23, 2012 | Research News

Atomtronics: A New Phase

Just as NASA engineers test new rocket designs in computer studies before committing themselves to full prototypes, so physicists will often model matter under various circumstances to see whether something new appears. This is especially true of atomtronics, a relatively new science devoted to creating artificial tailored materials consisting of neutral atoms held in an array with laser beams, or atoms moving along a desired track under electric or magnetic influence.

Image credit: E. Edwards; circuit diagram courtesy of authors.
February 3, 2012 | Research News

Electrons in Concert: A Simple Probe for Collective Motion in Ultracold Plasmas

Collective, or coordinated behavior is routine in liquids, where waves can occur as atoms act together. In a milliliter (mL) of liquid water, 1022 molecules bob around, colliding. When a breeze passes by, waves can form across the surface. These waves are not present in the same volume of air, where only 1019 gas molecules randomly move about.

Credit: Taylor/NIST
January 24, 2012 | Research News

Cool Nano Loudspeakers Could Make for Better MRIs, Quantum Computers

A team of physicists from the Joint Quantum Institute (JQI), the Neils Bohr Institute in Copenhagen, Denmark, and Harvard University has developed a theory describing how to both detect weak electrical signals and cool electrical circuits using light and something very like a nanosized loudspeaker.

December 8, 2011 | Research News

The Impact of Quantum Matter

“Dressing” atoms with laser light allows high angular momentum scattering to be seen for the first time in long-lived atomic Bose-Einstein condensates at ultracold temperatures.

November 23, 2011 | Research News

Topological Matter in Optical Lattices

Atoms trapped by laser light have become excellent platforms for simulating solid state systems. These systems are also a playground for exploring quantum matter and even uncovering new phenomena not yet seen in nature.

 Credit: NIST/PML
November 14, 2011 | Research News

Adding Up Photons with a TES

Scientists have demonstrated that a superconducting detector called a transition edge sensor (TES) is capable of counting the number of as many as 1,000 photons in a single pulse of light with an accuracy limited mainly by the quantum noise of the laser source.

Photons and quantum dots, C. Suplee, NIST
October 25, 2011 | Research News

Quantum Computer Components 'Coalesce' to 'Converse'

If quantum computers are ever to be realized, they likely will be made of different types of parts that will need to share information with one another, just like the memory and logic circuits in today's computers do.

Borromean Rings
September 23, 2011 | Research News

Hints of Universal Behavior seen in Exotic 3-Atom States

A novel type of inter-particle binding predicted in 1970 and observed for the first time in 2006, is forming the basis for an intriguing kind of ultracold quantum chemistry. Chilled to nano-kelvin temperatures, cesium atoms---three at a time---come together to form a bound state hundreds or even thousands of times larger than individual atoms.

Image depicts photonic edge state in a 2D array of resonators. Transmission of light is protected from defects because the system exhibits a photonic version of the quantum spin Hall effect. (Image credit: E. Edwards)
August 22, 2011 | Research News

Miniaturizing Delay Lines

Information traveling near the speed of light always sounds a little like science fiction. But this is what we get whenever we connect to the internet or watch cable television. Small packets of light called photons travel kilometers over networks of optical fiber, bringing information into our homes.

Cartoon depicting anti-ferromagnetic order (upper) compared to a spin liquid phase (lower). In an anti-ferromagnet, the spins are anti-aligned. A spin liquid has no order and the spins can be viewed as bobbing about like water molecules in liquid water. (Image credit: E. Edwards)
August 12, 2011 | Research News

Searching for Spin Liquids

The world economy is becoming ever more reliant on high tech electronics such as computers featuring fingernail-sized microprocessors crammed with billions of transistors.