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June 24, 2016 | PFC | Research News

Ultra-cold atoms may wade through quantum friction

Theoretical physicists studying the behavior of ultra-cold atoms have discovered a new source of friction, dispensing with a century-old paradox in the process. Their prediction, which experimenters may soon try to verify, was reported recently in Physical Review Letters.

June 6, 2016 | PFC | Research News

Disorder grants a memory to quantum spins

Nature doesn’t have the best memory. If you fill a box with air and divide it in half with a barrier, it’s easy to tell molecules on the left from molecules on the right. But after removing the barrier and waiting a short while, the molecules get mixed together, and it becomes impossible to tell where a given molecule started. ...

May 23, 2016 | People News

JQI researchers attend 47th DAMOP meeting in Providence

Dozens of JQI Fellows, postdoctoral researchers and graduate students are in Providence, R.I. this week for the 47th meeting of the American Physical Society's Division of Atomic, Molecular and Optical Physics (DAMOP). They will be delivering talks and posters on everything from the anomalous behavior of driven Rydberg atoms to running quantum algorithms in a programmable system ...

May 23, 2016 | PFC | Research News

Quantum cycles power cold-atom pump

The idea of a pump is at least as old as the ancient Greek philosopher and scientist Archimedes. More than 2000 years ago, Archimedes allegedly invented a corkscrew pump that could lift water up an incline with the turn of a handle. Versions of the ancient invention still bear his name and are used today in agriculture and industry. ...

May 10, 2016 | Research News

Novel gate may enhance power of Majorana-based quantum computers

Quantum computers hold great potential, but they remain hard to build because their basic components—individual quantum systems like atoms, electrons or photons—are fragile. A relentless and noisy background constantly bombards the computer’s data.
 
One promising theoretical approach, known as topological quantum computing, uses groups of special particles confined to a plane to combat this environmental onslaught. The particles, which ...
May 3, 2016 | People News

Christopher Monroe elected to National Academy of Sciences

University of Maryland Physics Professor Christopher Monroe has been elected to the National Academy of Sciences.
 
Monroe, who is also a Distinguished University Professor, the Bice Zorn Professor of Physics, and a fellow of the Joint Quantum Institute and the Joint Center for Quantum Information and Computer Science, is one of 84 new members and 21 foreign associates ...
April 28, 2016 | Research News

Atomic pairs offer platform for frigid physics

For scientists investigating the behavior of cold atoms trapped in a web of interfering lasers, two kinds of atoms can be better than one. The second species allows researchers to study more complex dynamics, like how the interactions between atoms caught in a 3-D lattice can form molecules stationed at the same site.

Recently, in Nature Communications, researchers at JILA ...

April 25, 2016 | People News

Gretchen Campbell named new JQI Co-Director

JQI Fellow Gretchen Campbell has been named the new NIST Co-Director of the Joint Quantum Institute, effective April 1, 2016. Campbell joined the JQI in 2009 and is also a UMD Adjunct Associate Professor and APS Fellow. In recent years she has received various accolades for her atomtronics research, including the APS Maria Goeppert-Mayer award. Campbell succeeds JQI Fellow Charles Clark, who ...

April 22, 2016 | Research News

Oscillating currents point to practical application for topological insulators

Scientists studying an exotic material have found a potential application for its unusual properties, a discovery that could improve devices found in most digital electronics.

Under the right conditions the material, a compound called samarium hexaboride, is a topological insulator—something that conducts electricity on its surface but not through its interior. The first examples of topological insulators were only recently ...

March 30, 2016 | PFC | Research News

Measuring the magnetization of wandering spins

The swirling field of a magnet—rendered visible by a sprinkling of iron filings—emerges from the microscopic behavior of atoms and their electrons. In permanent magnets, neighboring atoms align and lock into place to create inseparable north and south poles. For other materials, magnetism can be induced by a field strong enough to coax atoms into alignment.

In both cases, atoms ...

March 16, 2016 | PFC | Research News

Rogue rubidium leads to atomic anomaly

The behavior of a few rubidium atoms in a cloud of 40,000 hardly seems important. But a handful of the tiny particles with the wrong energy may cause a cascade of effects that could impact future quantum computers.

Some proposals for quantum devices use Rydberg atoms—atoms with highly excited electrons that roam far from the nucleus—because they interact strongly with ...

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