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Research News

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.

May 26, 2015 | Research News

Moving out of equilibrium

Physicists use theoretical and experimental techniques to develop explanations of the goings-on in nature. Somewhat surprisingly, many phenomena such as electrical conduction can be explained through relatively simplified mathematical pictures — models that were constructed well before the advent of modern computation. And then there are things in nature that push even the limits of high performance computing and sophisticated experimental tools.

May 12, 2015 | Research News

Magic Wavelengths

Rydberg atoms, atoms whose outermost electrons are highly excited but not ionized, might be just the thing for processing quantum information.  These outsized atoms can be sustained for a long time in a quantum superposition condition---a good thing for creating qubits---and they can interact strongly with other such atoms, making them useful for devising the kind of logic gates needed to process information.   Scientists at JQI and at other labs are pursuing this promising research area.

April 23, 2015 | PFC | Research News

Tightening the Bounds on the Quantum Information 'Speed Limit'

If you’re designing a new computer, you want it to solve problems as fast as possible. Just how fast is possible is an open question when it comes to quantum computers, but JQI physicists have narrowed the theoretical limits for where that “speed limit” is. The work implies that quantum processors will work more slowly than some research has suggested. 

April 20, 2015 | Research News

Getting Better All the Time

From NIST TechBeat


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