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Physics Frontier Center News

August 19, 2020 | PFC | Research News

Quantum Computers Do the (Instantaneous) Twist

Regardless of what makes up the innards of a quantum computer, its speedy calculations all boil down to sequences of simple instructions applied to qubits—the basic units of information inside a quantum computer.

July 13, 2020 | PFC | Research News

New Quantum Information Speed Limits Depend on the Task at Hand

Unlike speed limits on the highway, most speed limits in physics cannot be disobeyed. For example, no matter how little you care about getting a ticket, you can never go faster than the speed of light. Similarly stringent limits exist for information, too. The speed of light is still the ultimate speed limit, but depending on how information is stored and transmitted, there can be slower limits in practice.

April 15, 2020 | PFC | Research News

Peeking into a World of Spin-3/2 Materials

Researchers have been pushing the frontiers of the quantum world for over a century. And time after time, spin has been a rich source of new physics.

April 15, 2020 | PFC | Research News

New Protocol Helps Classify Topological Matter

Topological materials have captured the interest of many scientists and may provide the basis for a new era in materials development. On April 10, 2020 in the journal Science Advances, physicists working with Andreas Elben, Jinlong Yu, Peter Zoller and Benoit Vermersch, including JQI Fellow Mohammad Hafezi and former JQI postdoctoral researcher Guanyu Zhu (currently a research staff member at IBM T. J.

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.

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.

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 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 17, 2019 | PFC | Research News

Ring resonators corner light

Researchers at the Joint Quantum Institute (JQI) have created the first silicon chip that can reliably constrain light to its four corners. The effect, which arises from interfering optical pathways, isn't altered by small defects during fabrication and could eventually enable the creation of robust sources of quantum light.

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