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Research News

September 23, 2015 | Research News

Twisting Neutrons

 It’s easy to contemplate the wave nature of light in common experience.  White light passing through a prism spreads out into constituent colors; it diffracts from atmospheric moisture into a rainbow; light passing across a sharp edge or a diffraction grating creates an interference pattern.  It’s harder to fathom the wave behavior of things usually thought of as particles, such as electrons and atoms.  And yet these matter waves play a role in physics and in technology.  For example, electron beams, manifested as waves, provide an important form of microscopy.

September 17, 2015 | PFC | Research News

Beyond Majorana: Ultracold gases as a platform for observing exotic robust quantum states

The quantum Hall effect, discovered in the early 1980s, is a phenomenon that was observed in a two-dimensional gas of electrons existing at the interface between two semiconductor layers. Subject to the severe criteria of very high material purity and very low temperatures, the electrons, when under the influence of a large magnetic field, will organize themselves into an ensemble state featuring remarkable properties.

September 9, 2015 | PFC | Research News

JQI Physicists Show ‘Molecules’ Made of Light May Be Possible

From NIST TechBeat--It’s not lightsaber time, not yet. But a team including theoretical physicists from JQI and NIST has taken another step toward building objects out of photons, and the findings hint that weightless particles of light can be joined into a sort of “molecule” with its own peculiar force. Researchers show that two photons, depicted in this artist’s conception as waves (left and right), can be locked together at a short distance.

September 2, 2015 | Research News

Strange Metallic Behavior

The two-dimensional physical properties of semiconductor materials depend keenly on a number of factors, such as material purity, surface orientation, flatness, surface reconstruction, charge carrier polarity, and temperature.  JQI (*) scientists have optimized a number of these parameters to produce the first ever ultra-high mobility,  two-dimensional Si(111) transistor that allows charge carriers (electrons or holes) to flow through the same conduction channel by merely changing an external gate voltage.

August 21, 2015 | PFC | Research News

Thermometry using an optical nanofiber

Experimental quantum physics often resides in the coldest regimes found in the universe, where the lack of large thermal disturbances allows quantum effects to flourish. A key ingredient to these experiments is being able to measure just how cold the system of interest is. Laboratories that produce ultracold gas clouds have a simple and reliable method to do this: take pictures! The temperature of a gas depends on the range of velocities among the particles, namely the size of the difference between the slowest- and the fastest-moving particles.

August 11, 2015 | Research News

Using an electron to probe the tiny magnetic core of an atom

Precise information about the magnetic properties of nuclei is critical for studies of what’s known as the ‘weak force.’ While people do not feel this force in the same way they feel electricity or gravity, its effects are universal. The weak force allows stuff to become unglued and form new elements through decay—the sun, for example, is powered through deuterium fuel, which is generated via weak force mediated interactions. The weak force is elusive as it operates between objects that are separated by miniscule distances deep within atomic nuclei.

July 27, 2015 | PFC | Research News

Interacting Ion Qutrits

Symmetry permeates nature, from the radial symmetry of flowers to the left-right symmetry of the human body. As such, it provides a natural way of classifying objects by grouping those that share the same symmetry. This is particularly useful for describing transitions between phases of matter. For example, liquid and gas phases have translational symmetry, meaning the arrangement of molecules doesn’t change regardless of the direction from which they are observed.

July 27, 2015 | Research News

Quantum speed up in an optical cavity

Control systems are ubiquitous, and as essential as they are easy to overlook. For instance, turning the dial on a thermostat feels as trivial as moving a piece on a board game, but this control system is actually quite complex.

July 22, 2015 | PFC | Research News

Qubit Chemistry

A big part of the burgeoning science of quantum computation is reliably storing and processing information in the form of quantum bits, or qubits.  One of the obstacles to this goal is the difficulty of preserving the fragile quantum condition of qubits against unwanted outside influence even as the qubits interact among themselves in a programmatic way. 

June 12, 2015 | PFC | Research News

Collecting Lost Light

Optical fibers are hair-like threads of glass used to guide light. Fibers of exceptional purity have proved an excellent way of sending information over long distances and are the foundation of modern telecommunication systems. Transmission relies on what’s called total internal reflection, wherein the light propagates by effectively bouncing back and forth off of the fiber’s internal surface.

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