In the quest for advancing quantum technology, scientists at the University of Washington have made a groundbreaking discovery. They have successfully detected a phenomenon known as atomic breathing, which refers to the mechanical oscillation between two atomic layers.
This discovery holds immense significance in the field of quantum technology as it opens up new possibilities for encoding and transmitting quantum information. By harnessing the unique properties of atomic “breathing,” researchers can pave the way for innovative applications in computing, communications, and sensor development.
Detecting Atomic “Breathing”: A Breakthrough in Quantum Information Encoding
The research team at the University of Washington utilized a technique called “optomechanics” to detect atomic “breathing.” This involved observing the specific light emitted by atoms when they are excited by a laser.
By carefully analyzing the emitted light, the scientists were able to identify the presence of atomic “breathing” and gain insights into its characteristics. This breakthrough in detecting and understanding atomic “breathing” brings us one step closer to effectively encoding and delivering quantum information.
Creating a New Building Block for Quantum Technologies
Building upon their discovery of atomic “breathing,” the researchers at the University of Washington developed a novel device that can serve as a fundamental building block for quantum technologies. This device leverages the intrinsic coupling between light and mechanical motion at the atomic scale.
It opens up exciting possibilities for controlling single photons within integrated optical circuits, thereby enabling a wide range of applications in quantum computing and communication.
Understanding Excitons and their Role in Quantum Emitters
To create a single photon emitter, or “quantum emitter,” the researchers focused on studying a quantum-level quasiparticle called an “exciton.” By applying a precise pulse of laser light to a thin layer of tungsten diselenide atoms, they generated excitons.
These excitons consist of a negatively charged electron and a positively charged hole, tightly bonded to each other. As the electron drops back into the hole, it emits a single photon encoded with quantum information, thus creating the desired quantum emitter.
Unveiling the Presence of Phonons
During their experiments, the research team made an unexpected discovery. They found that the tungsten diselenide atoms were also emitting another type of quasiparticle known as a “phonon.” Phonons are a product of atomic vibration, akin to the concept of breathing.
The two atomic layers of tungsten diselenide acted like tiny drumheads, vibrating relative to each other and generating phonons. This observation marked the first time phonons have been observed in a single photon emitter within a two-dimensional atomic system.
Harnessing Phonons for Quantum Technology
Upon discovering the presence of phonons, the researchers were intrigued by the potential of harnessing them for quantum technology. They conducted experiments by applying electrical voltage and found that they could vary the interaction energy between phonons and emitted photons.
This ability to manipulate phonons in a controlled manner is crucial for encoding quantum information into single photon emissions. The researchers demonstrated the feasibility of integrating phonons into the quantum information processing framework, highlighting the potential for enhanced quantum technology capabilities.
Advancements in Controlling Quantum Emitters
The development of the integrated device allowed the researchers to control the interaction between phonons and quantum emitters. By precisely manipulating electrical voltage, they could modulate the phonon states and associated emitted photons.
This breakthrough paves the way for not only controlling a single quantum emitter but also enables the vision of controlling multiple emitters and their phonon states. This advancement is crucial in building a solid foundation for quantum circuitry, facilitating communication and interaction between quantum emitters.
Scaling Up for Quantum Circuitry
With the successful control of single quantum emitters and their associated phonon states, the researchers are now focusing on scaling up the system. Their next goal is to construct a waveguide—a fiber on a chip that can capture and direct single photon emissions.
By achieving control over multiple emitters, these quantum emitters will be able to communicate with each other, which is a crucial step towards building a solid base for quantum circuitry. This scalability will contribute to the development of integrated systems capable of performing quantum computing and quantum sensing.
Conclusion: Towards a Quantum Future
The discovery of atomic “breathing” and the development of an integrated device that manipulates atomic vibrations and light emissions mark significant milestones in the advancement of quantum technology.
By harnessing the unique properties of atomic “breathing” and phonons, researchers are paving the way for revolutionary applications in quantum computing, communication, and sensing. As we move forward, the continued exploration of atomic-scale phenomena will undoubtedly unlock new opportunities and propel us closer to a future where quantum technology transforms the way we live and interact with the world around us.
FAQ’s About Atomic “Breathing” – A New Building Block for Quantum Technology:
1. What is atomic “breathing” in the context of quantum technology?
Atomic “breathing” refers to the mechanical oscillation between two atomic layers and has been detected by researchers as a significant phenomenon in quantum technology.
2. How did scientists at the University of Washington detect atomic “breathing”?
Scientists at the University of Washington detected atomic “breathing” by observing the specific light emitted by atoms when excited by a laser.
3. What is the potential significance of atomic “breathing” in quantum technology?
Atomic “breathing” has the potential to assist in encoding and delivering quantum information, making it a valuable building block for advancements in quantum technology.
4. What is the role of excitons in quantum emitters?
Excitons are quantum-level quasiparticles that can be used to create quantum emitters, which are critical components for quantum technologies based on light and optics.
5. What are phonons and how are they related to atomic “breathing”?
Phonons are quasiparticles that arise from atomic vibrations and are similar to the concept of breathing. They were observed in the emission spectrum of the tungsten diselenide atoms, indicating their presence in the atomic system.
6. How did researchers manipulate phonons for quantum technology purposes?
Researchers were able to manipulate phonons by applying electrical voltage, which allowed them to vary the interaction energy between phonons and emitted photons, enabling the encoding of quantum information into single photon emissions.
7. What is the goal of scaling up the system in quantum technology research?
Scaling up the system aims to control multiple quantum emitters and their associated phonon states, enabling communication and interaction between emitters and paving the way for more advanced quantum circuitry.
8. What potential applications can be expected from these advancements in quantum technology?
These advancements in quantum technology can have applications in various fields, including computing, communications, and sensor development, where quantum information processing and quantum sensing are crucial.
9. What is the overarching goal of the researchers at the University of Washington?
The researchers aim to create an integrated system with quantum emitters that can utilize single photons running through optical circuits and phonons for quantum computing and quantum sensing applications.
10. How does the discovery of atomic “breathing” contribute to the development of quantum computing?
The discovery of atomic “breathing” provides new insights and tools for controlling and manipulating quantum information encoded in photons, which is essential for the advancement of quantum computing capabilities.