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Monday, 06 April, 2009

Quantum Simulator with a Great Potential

MPQ scientists invent a new method for manipulating atomic gases

In many not yet fully understood branches of physics, scientists hope to make progress with quantum computers. The special properties of the quantum particles that serve for storage and encoding of information here are expected to make it possible to resolve complex problems which cannot be solved with classical computers due to  computation time issues. The realization of a universal quantum computer that can carry out arbitrary computations remains a long term goal. But the technologies developed so far enable us to perform so called quantum simulations. Here assemblies of directly controllable quantum particles form models for complex systems which are difficult to manipulate. A new, promising technique was now developed in the group of Professor Gerhard Rempe at the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics in Garching. The researchers report in Nature Physics (Advance online Publication, 6 April 2009) that they can modify the properties of atomic gases by applying simultaneously laser light and a magnetic field. This gives the scientists a tool for manipulating the gases on short length scales in the nanometer range which can additionally be varied rapidly in time. This might help to improve the understanding of physical processes in diverse fields ranging from black holes to superconductivity. (From press release of MPQ)

To the complete press release

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