Discovering a new state of matter could be a holy grail for the future of quantum computing

In 1973, Behnam was a physicist Philip W. Anderson The theory of the existence of a new state of matter, which can actually be considered a turning point in the competition for the construction of quantum computers. This strange state of matter is called “quantum spin fluid” and, contrary to its name, has nothing to do with our everyday fluids such as water. In fact, it’s all about how the electrons in the magnets rotate, which never closes.

In conventional magnets, when the temperature falls below a certain range, the electrons stabilize and form a solid piece of matter with magnetic properties. In quantum spin fluid, electrons stabilize as they cool and do not solidify, and in one of the most turbulent quantum states ever imagined, they are constantly changing (like liquids).

The various properties of quantum spin liquids have promising applications that can be very useful for the development of quantum technologies such as the fabrication of superconductors with high temperature resistance thresholds and their subsequent application in quantum computers. However, this material had not yet been discovered, and only all of its useful and bizarre properties were summarized in theories over the past 50 years.

But the good news is that a team of physicists led by Harvard University has recently announced that they have finally experimentally recorded this mysterious state of matter that they have been searching for for so long. This achievement represents a major step towards the ability to create the aforementioned escape mode on demand and gain a new understanding of its mysterious nature. Mikhail Lukin“Professor George Wassmer Lort, a professor of physics at Harvard University and one of the lead authors of this study, says:

We are in a very special moment in this regard. We can really use the weird mode and manipulate it to better understand its properties. This is a new state of matter that researchers have never been able to observe!

In general, the product of new scientific research could provide advances in the design of quantum materials and better technology in the near future. Meanwhile, the bizarre properties of quantum spin fluids could be the key to creating stronger quantum bits, known as topological qubits, which are expected to be resistant to external noise and interference. However, current qubits are very vulnerable and easily lose their properties with increasing temperature and ambient noise, and have somehow become the Achilles’ heel of quantum superiority.

Quantum excellence is a turning point in which a quantum computer can complete mathematical calculations that are significantly beyond the capabilities of even the most powerful supercomputers. It is not yet clear exactly how many qubits are needed to achieve this goal; Because researchers are finding new algorithms to increase the performance of classic computers, existing hardware is still being improved. Quantum computing has been developed exclusively by scientists and in the laboratory for many years; But new advances are driving this revolutionary technology to practical applications.

Julia Semgini“This is a dream in quantum computing,” explains the postdoctoral fellow at the Harvard-Max Planck Center for Quantum Optics. “Learning how to create and use such topological qubits is a big step towards the realization of functional quantum computers.”

Using a programmable quantum simulator first developed by the lab in 2017, the team is said to have observed this liquid-like state using a set of complex quantum processes such as networks to engineer interactions and entanglements between supercooled atoms. The idea of ​​using a quantum simulator is to be able to reproduce the same microscopic physics found in dense material systems, especially with the freedom that the programmability of the system allows. Subir Sachdov, Explaining their new achievement, one of the authors of the study and the supervisor of this project says:

Using the new achievement, we can separate the atoms as much as we want and change the frequency of the laser light. The parameters of nature can really be changed in such a way that you can not change them in materials that have already been studied.

In ordinary magnets, electron spins move up or down in some regular pattern. For example, in conventional refrigerator magnets, the rotations are all in one direction. This process occurs because the rotations usually work in a so-called “checkbox” pattern and are paired so that they can point in one direction or alternate paths, maintaining a certain order.

Quantum spin liquids do not have any of that magnetic order; Because basically a third spin is added that turns the checkbox pattern into a triangular pattern. While a pair can always be fixed in one direction or another, in a triangular pattern, the third spin will always be the individual electron. This creates a “neutral magnet” in which the electron spins cannot be fixed in one direction. In essence, they are in different configurations at the same time and with a certain probability that they behave on the basis of quantum overlap.

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The research study found that Harvard scientists used a simulator to model their neutralized lattice, placing atoms there to interact and intertwine. The researchers were then able to measure and analyze strings that connected atoms after the whole structure was entangled. This process, called topological filaments, indicates that quantum entanglement occurs and that a quantum spin fluid state of matter has emerged.

After confirming the existence of quantum spin liquids, researchers are said to have turned to the possible use of this state of matter to create strong qubits. They performed an experiment to prove the concept, which showed that one day these quantum bits could be created by placing quantum spin liquids in a special geometric array using a simulator.

The researchers note that they intend to use a programmable quantum simulator to further study quantum spin fluids and how to use them to create more robust qubits. It should be noted, however, that researchers have yet to show how topological qubits can be encrypted and manipulated; So they certainly have a long way to go to put their achievements into practice in quantum computers.

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