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Latest News and Research

Narrow glass threads synchronize the light emissions of distant atoms

If you holler at someone across your yard, the sound travels on the bustling movement of air molecules. But over long distances your voice needs help to reach its destination—help provided by a telephone or the Internet. Atoms don’t yell, but they can share information through light. And they also need help connecting over long distances.Now, researchers at the Joint Quantum Institute (JQI) have shown that nanofibers can provide a link between far-flung atoms, serving as a light bridge between them. Their research, which was conducted in collaboration with the Army Research Lab and the National Autonomous University of Mexico, was published... Continue Reading

Quantum simulators wield control over more than 50 qubits
Atoms provide a robust platform for observing quantum magnets in action.

Two independent teams of scientists, including one from the Joint Quantum Institute, have used more than 50 interacting atomic qubits to mimic magnetic quantum matter, blowing past the complexity of previous demonstrations. The results appear in this week’s issue of Nature.As the basis for its quantum simulation, the JQI team deploys up to 53 individual ytterbium ions—charged atoms trapped in place by gold-coated and razor-sharp electrodes. A complementary design by Harvard and MIT researchers uses 51 uncharged rubidium atoms confined by an array of laser beams. With so many qubits these quantum simulators are on the cusp of exploring... Continue Reading

Chilled atoms enable deeper understanding of simple chemistry
Researchers use new technique to reveal quantum intricacies of molecule creation.

The field of chemistry often conjures up images of boiling liquids and explosions. But underneath all that eye-catching action is an invisible quantum world where atoms and molecules are constantly rearranging, colliding, and combining to form different molecules.This part of chemistry is rarely seen, but even when scientists do pull back the curtain and expose quantum behavior, the task of understanding chemical reactions at their most fundamental level remains daunting. There are simply too many properties to keep track of for the countless atoms and molecules involved in a reaction. In fact, scientists struggle to keep track of everything even... Continue Reading

Ion qubits offer early glimpse of quantum error detection

Computers based on quantum physics promise to solve certain problems much faster than their conventional counterparts. By utilizing qubits—which can have more than just the two values of ordinary bits—quantum computers of the future could perform complex simulations and may solve difficult problems in chemistry, optimization and pattern-recognition.But building a large quantum computer—one with thousands or millions of qubits—is hard because qubits are very fragile. Small interactions with the environment can introduce errors and lead to failures. Detecting these errors is not straightforward, since quantum measurements are a form of interaction and therefore also disrupt quantum states. Quantum physics presents... Continue Reading

Congressional hearing highlights need for quantum technology initiative

On October 24, 2017, two Fellows of the Joint Quantum Institute and the Joint Center for Quantum Information and Computer Science were among those that testified during a joint congressional committee hearing on the topic of American Leadership in Quantum Technology.Carl Williams and Christopher Monroe attended as expert panelists, reading prepared statements and answering questions from committee members. Williams, who is also the deputy director of the Physical Measurement Laboratory at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), provided testimony about quantum research at NIST. Monroe—a Distinguished University Professor of Physics at the University of Maryland (UMD) and... Continue Reading

The Nobel Prize: A LIGO Q&A
A little more than a hundred years ago, Albert Einstein worked out a consequence of his new theory of gravity: Much like waves traveling through water, ripples can undulate through space and time, distorting the fabric of the universe itself. Today, Rainer Weiss, Barry C. Barish and Kip S. Thorne were awarded the 2017 Nobel Prize in Physics for decades of work that culminated in the detection of gravitational waves in 2015—and several times since—by the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO). Emily and Chris sat down with UMD physics professor Peter Shawhan, a member of the LIGO collaboration, to learn... Continue Reading
Turning ions into quantum cats
A new technique spreads single-ion "cat states" 300 nanometers apart.

In Schrödinger's famous thought experiment, a cat seems to be both dead and alive—an idea that strains credulity. These days, cats still don't act this way, but physicists now regularly create analogues of Schrödinger's cat in the lab by smearing the microscopic quantum world over longer and longer distances.
Such "cat states" have found many homes, promising more sensitive quantum measurements and acting as the basis for quantum error-correcting codes—a necessary component for future error-prone quantum computers.With these goals in mind, some researchers are eager to create better cat states with single ions. But, so far, standard techniques have imposed limits... Continue Reading

Sensing atoms caught in ripples of light

Optical fibers are ubiquitous, carrying light wherever it is needed. These glass tunnels are the high-speed railway of information transit, moving data at incredible speeds over tremendous distances. Fibers are also thin and flexible, so they can be immersed in many different environments, including the human body, where they are employed for illumination and imaging.Physicists use fibers, too, particularly those who study atomic physics and quantum information science. Aside from shuttling laser light around, fibers can be used to create light traps for super-chilled atoms. Captured atoms can interact more strongly with light, much more so than if they were moving... Continue Reading

Latest News and Research

  • Narrow glass threads synchronize the light emissions of distant atoms

    If you holler at someone across your yard, the sound travels on the bustling movement of air molecules. But over long distances your voice needs help to reach its destination—help provided by a telephone or the Internet. Atoms don’t yell, but they can share information through light. And they also need help connecting over long distances.Now, researchers at the Joint Quantum Institute (JQI)... Continue Reading

  • Quantum simulators wield control over more than 50 qubits
    Atoms provide a robust platform for observing quantum magnets in action.

    Two independent teams of scientists, including one from the Joint Quantum Institute, have used more than 50 interacting atomic qubits to mimic magnetic quantum matter, blowing past the complexity of previous demonstrations. The results appear in this week’s issue of Nature.As the basis for its quantum simulation, the JQI team deploys up... Continue Reading

  • Chilled atoms enable deeper understanding of simple chemistry
    Researchers use new technique to reveal quantum intricacies of molecule creation.

    The field of chemistry often conjures up images of boiling liquids and explosions. But underneath all that eye-catching action is an invisible quantum world where atoms and molecules are constantly rearranging, colliding, and combining to form different molecules.This part of chemistry is rarely seen, but even when scientists do pull back the curtain and expose quantum behavior, the task of... Continue Reading

  • Ion qubits offer early glimpse of quantum error detection

    Computers based on quantum physics promise to solve certain problems much faster than their conventional counterparts. By utilizing qubits—which can have more than just the two values of ordinary bits—quantum computers of the future could perform complex simulations and may solve difficult problems in chemistry, optimization and pattern-recognition.But building a large quantum computer—one... Continue Reading

  • Congressional hearing highlights need for quantum technology initiative

    On October 24, 2017, two Fellows of the Joint Quantum Institute and the Joint Center for Quantum Information and Computer Science were among those that testified during a joint congressional committee... Continue Reading

  • The Nobel Prize: A LIGO Q&A
    A little more than a hundred years ago, Albert Einstein worked out a consequence of his new theory of gravity: Much like waves traveling through water, ripples can undulate through space and time, distorting the fabric of the universe itself. Today, Rainer Weiss, Barry C. Barish and Kip S. Thorne were awarded the 2017 Nobel Prize in Physics for decades of work that culminated in the detection... Continue Reading
  • Turning ions into quantum cats
    A new technique spreads single-ion "cat states" 300 nanometers apart.

    In Schrödinger's famous thought experiment, a cat seems to be both dead and alive—an idea that strains credulity. These days, cats still don't act this way, but physicists now regularly create analogues of Schrödinger's cat in the lab by smearing the microscopic quantum world over longer and longer distances.
Such "cat states" have found many homes, promising more sensitive quantum... Continue Reading

  • Sensing atoms caught in ripples of light

    Optical fibers are ubiquitous, carrying light wherever it is needed. These glass tunnels are the high-speed railway of information transit, moving data at incredible speeds over tremendous distances. Fibers are also thin and flexible, so they can be immersed in many different environments, including the human body, where they are employed for illumination and imaging.Physicists use fibers, too... Continue Reading

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