/Classic magic tricks may enable quantum computing (via Qpute.com)
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Classic magic tricks may enable quantum computing (via Qpute.com)


This is a line drawing of an accelerator cavity used in a principle demonstration project aimed at levitating small metal particles and storing quantum information. Credit: Thomas Jefferson National Accelerator Facility

Quantum computing has the potential to solve problems that are difficult with traditional computer systems. It may look magical. The step towards achieving quantum computing is even similar to the magician’s trick of levitation. A new project at the Thomas Jefferson National Accelerator Facility at the US Department of Energy attempts this trick by levitating microparticles in superconducting high-frequency (SRF) cavities to observe quantum phenomena.

At Jefferson Laboratories and other particle accelerator facilities, SRF cavities usually enable the study of nuclei. They do this by accelerating subatomic particles such as electrons.This project uses the same type Caries Instead, a hollow electric field is used to levitate fine metal particles 1-100 micrometers in diameter.

Drew Weisenberger, Principal Investigator of the project and Chief Technology Officer of the Experiment and Head of the Radiation Detector and Imaging Group, said: Department of Nuclear Physics, Jefferson Institute.

If the project team is able to levitate the particles, it may be possible to give them a quantum state by cooling the trapped particles to the lowest possible energy level (because of the quantum properties). ..

“Our ultimate goal is to store quantum information in suspended nanoparticles, but for now it’s evidence of a major experiment,” said another principal investigator of the project, Accelerator Operations Research and Jefferson Labs. Said Pashpatidakar, a staff scientist at. Development department. “I want to know if an electric field can be used to trap and float particles in a cavity.”

Search for Quantum with Accelerator Cavity

The idea for this project came from the observations of accelerator experts. They believe that during the operation of the particle accelerator, nanoparticles of unwanted and rare metals such as niobium and iron were already unintentionally suspended in the SRF cavity. They suspect that this unintended levitation affected the performance of the SRF cavity components.

Researchers are trying to use a decade-old technique called “laser trapping” as a step to ensure that particles suspended in a laser beam are given quantum states. However, the Jefferson Labs project team believes that SRF cavities may provide better tools for those researchers.

“The electric field can exceed the capabilities of the laser trap,” Weisenberger said.

The unique properties of the SRF cavity overcome some limitations of laser traps. The suspended particles in the SRF cavity cooled to ultra-low temperature under vacuum interact only with the electric field of the cavity and do not lose any information to the outside. This is important for maintaining the quantum state.

“Like storing information on a computer chip, the quantum state stays and does not dissipate,” Weisenberger said. “And it finally Quantum computing And quantum communication. “

The project, entitled “SRF Revitation and Nanoparticle Trapping Experiments,” provides resources for Jefferson Institute staff to make swift and significant contributions to key scientific and technological issues related to Jefferson’s mission. Labs and DOEs funded by laboratory-led R & D programs.

Interdisciplinary approach

The project was conceived and initiated by Rongli Geng in October 2021 and then moved to Oak Ridge National Laboratory. We are now moving to a larger, interdisciplinary team led by current co-principal researchers Weisenberger and Dakar.

While Weissenberger’s team is studying detector technology for nuclear physics research, Dakar’s research focuses on the development of SRF cavities for accelerating electrons at high speeds. According to Weisenberger, an interdisciplinary approach brings together expertise as it branches into less familiar areas of the LDRD project.

Both principal investigators say the project is on track, thanks to the diligence and expertise provided by all members of the team. Team members include John Musson, Frank Marhauser, Haipeng Wang, Wenze Xi, Brian Kross and Jack McKisson.

“This is an interesting step other than the usual thing we do,” says Weisenberger. “The LDRD program allows Jefferson Lab scientists and engineers to answer research questions that are not directly related to what they are actually hired, but leverage all the expertise we bring. So it’s a great resource to take advantage of. Try stretching. That’s what this project is doing. Stretching. “

Build and test

Before handing over the project to Weisenberger and Dhakal, Geng and his colleagues used simulations and calculations to determine the parameters required for cavities and electric fields.

“We write everything on paper, but we need to do that,” Dakar said.

The team is currently setting up a real experiment.

“We need to see if what is simulated can really happen,” Weisenberger said.

First, assemble the experimental mockup at room temperature. Next, liquid helium is circulated through the outer surface of the cavity to cool it to a superconducting temperature close to absolute zero.

Next is the most difficult part. They need to obtain a single microparticle in the correct area of ​​the cavity while the cavity is confined in a containment vessel at superconducting temperature, under vacuum, with the electric field on.

“We have come up with a way to remotely fire particles into the cavity under experimental conditions, and we need to test them now,” Weisenberger said. “In the world of research and development, we often can’t do what we thought we could do. We test, run into problems, try to solve problems, and continue.”

This is a one-year project and may be funded for another year in some circumstances.This is also an early stage and a proof of principle business.. Even if it ultimately succeeds, there is still a long way to go before the concept is applied to the construction of quantum computers. Such computers need to predictably and reliably levitate and feed quantum states into tens to hundreds to thousands of much smaller particles.

Still, researchers look forward to discoveries that hope this study will be possible with respect to microscopic particle levitation and potential observations of quantum states.

“I’m optimistic,” Dakar said. “Both methods we discover something. Failure is as much part of research and development as success. You learn from both. Basically, whether the particles float or to the particles. Whether or not we can give a quantum state is unprecedented. It’s very rewarding and exciting. ”


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Quote: Classic magic tricks, Quantum Computing obtained on June 22, 2021 from https: //phys.org/news/2021-06-classic-magic-enable-quantum.html (June 22, 2021) May)

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