University of Chicago scientists have created a quantum flute that can force particles of light together in a way never before seen.
The breakthrough was described in two studies published by Nature Physics and Physical Review Letters. It could lead to quantum memories, new error corrections in quantum computers, or the observation of quantum phenomena that are not visible in nature.
Assoc. Assoc. They were using photons, which are particles of light in the microwave spectrum, for this experiment.
They created a system that traps photons at microwave frequencies. It consists of a long cavity in one block of metal. By drilling offset holes, which look like holes in a flute, the cavity can be made.
Schuster stated that "just like in a musical instrument," you can send one or more wavelengths of photons across the entire thing. Each wavelength creates a "note" that can be used for quantum information. Researchers can then control the interactions between the "notes" by using a master quantum bits, which is a superconducting electric circuit.
Their most surprising discovery was the strange behavior of photons together.
Photons rarely interact in nature. They simply pass through one another. Scientists can sometimes get two photons to react to one another by meticulous preparation.
It is quite strange to see so many photons "talking to" one another in a lab experiment.
Schuster stated that most particle interactions are one on one, with two particles attracted or bouncing each other. "If you add another, they will still interact sequentially with each other. They can interact simultaneously with each other in this system.
Although they only tested five notes at a given time, the scientists were able to imagine controlling hundreds of thousands of them with a single qubit. Engineers want to simplify complex operations like quantum computers. Schuster stated that if you were to create a quantum computing system with 1,000 bits, you would be able to control them all through one bit.
Researchers are also thrilled about the behavior. The researchers are also excited about the behavior.
The experiments are also fun.
"Quantum interactions occur over a length and time too short or too fast to see. Our system allows us to measure single photons within any of our notes and then watch the interaction unfold. It's quite fascinating to "see" a quantum interaction between your eye and your eyes," Srivatsan Chakram (now a postdoctoral researcher at UChicago), said.
Srivatsan Chakram et al, Multimode photon blockade, Nature Physics (2022).DOI: 10.1038/s41567-022-01630-y