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By NJ Manning, Harvard Gazette

Physicists create a new phase of matter.

Inside the chamber of the Quantinuum H2 quantum processor. Credit: Quantum

Our physical, 3D world consists of only two types of particles: bosons, which include light, and the famous Higgs boson. And fermions – the protons, neutrons, and electrons that make up all “stuff,” including the present company.

Theoretical physicists like Ashwin Vishwanath, George Weissmer Laureate Professor of Physics at Harvard, don’t like to limit themselves to our world, though. In a 2D setting, for example, all kinds of new particles and states of matter would become possible.

Viswanath’s team used a powerful machine called A For the first time, to create an entirely new phase of matter known as non-Abelian topological order. Previously recognized only in theory, the team demonstrated the synthesis and control of exotic particles called non-abilian eons, which are neither bosons nor fermions, but something in between.

Their Results are published in The nature In collaboration with researchers at quantum computing company Quantinuum. Vishwanath’s team included Harvard Kenneth C. Griffin Graduate School of Arts and Sciences alumnus Nat Thantyusadakaran ’22, now at Caltech, and postdoctoral fellow Ruben Viresin.

Non-Abelian anions, known to physicists as quasi-particles, are only mathematically possible in the 2D plane. The qualifier “quasi” refers to the fact that they are not particles at all, but rather long-lived excitations through a specific phase of matter. And they have special memory-carrying abilities.

In addition to the fact that the formation of new phases of matter is interesting fundamental physics, non-Abelian atoms are widely recognized as a potential platform for quantum computing—making the research breakthrough even more important.

On other quantum computing platforms, non-Abelian eons are inherently stable, unlike fragile and error-prone quantum bits, or qubits. They can “remember” their pasts as they move around each other—like a magician replacing cups with hidden balls. This property is also what makes them topological, or able to twist and turn without losing their basic identity.

For all these reasons, non-Abelins could one day make ideal qubits—units of computational power that far exceed those of today’s classical computers—if they can be made and controlled on a large scale.

“A very promising path to stable quantum computing is to use these kinds of exotic states of matter as efficient quantum bits and perform quantum computations with them,” said Tantyusadakaran. “Then you’ve pretty much reduced the noise problems.”

The researchers used some dogs’ creativity to sense the state of their foreign matter. Maximizing the capabilities of Quantinuum’s state-of-the-art H2 processor, the team started with a lattice of 27 trapped ions. They used fractional, targeted measurements to incrementally increase the complexity of their quantum system, effectively culminating with an engineered quantum wave function with the exact properties and properties of the particles they were after. .

“Measurement is the most mysterious aspect of quantum mechanics, leading to famous paradoxes like Schrödinger’s cat and numerous philosophical debates,” Viswanath said. “Here we used the measurement as a tool to model the quantum state of interest.”

As a theorist, Vishwanath likes the ability to bounce between different theories and applications of physics without being tied to one platform or technology. But in the context of this work, he is surprised to not only discover a theory, but actually demonstrate it, especially The field of quantum mechanics is entering its 100th year..

“At least for me, it was just amazing that it all worked out, and that we could do something very concrete,” Vishwanath said. “It really connects a lot of different aspects of physics over the years, from basic quantum mechanics to recent ideas about these new types of particles.”

More information:
Mohsin Iqbal et al., Non-Abelian topological order and anyons on a trapped-ion processor, The nature (2024). DOI: 10.1038/s41586-023-06934-4

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This story is published courtesy of Harvard Gazette, the official newspaper of Harvard University. For additional university news, visit Harvard.edu.

Reference: A new phase of matter: Physicists achieve first demonstration of non-abelian electrons in quantum processor (2024, February 21) https://phys.org/news/2024-02-phase-physicists-abelian February 21, 2024 Retrieved from -anyons-quantum.html

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