How about if we lived in a flat two-dimensional world? Physicists predict that quantum mechanics would be even stranger in this case, which would lead to exotic particles – so-called “anyons” – that cannot exist in the three-dimensional world in which we live. This unknown world is not just a curiosity, but could be the key to unlocking quantum materials and technologies of the future.
In collaboration with the Google Quantum AI team, scientists from the Technical University of Munich and the University of Nottingham have used a highly controllable quantum processor to simulate such states of quantum matter. Your results appear in the current issue of the renowned specialist journal science.
Emergent quantum particles in two-dimensional systems
All particles in our universe come in two flavors, bosons or fermions. This observation persists in the three-dimensional world in which we live. However, it was theoretically predicted almost 50 years ago that other types of particles called anyons could exist when matter is confined to two dimensions.
While these anyons do not appear as elementary particles in our universe, it turns out that anyon particles can appear as collective stimuli in so-called topological phases of matter, for which the Nobel Prize was awarded in 2016.
“Twisting pairs of these anyons by moving them around each other in the simulation reveals their exotic properties – physicists call this braiding statistics,” says Dr. Adam Smith from the University of Nottingham.
A simple picture of this collective excitement is “the wave” in a stadium crowd – it has a well-defined position, but it cannot exist without the thousands of people who make up the crowd. However, the experimental realization and simulation of such topologically ordered states has proven to be extremely demanding.
Quantum processors as a platform for controlled quantum simulations
In groundbreaking experiments, the teams from TUM, Google Quantum AI and the University of Nottingham programmed the Google quantum processor to simulate these two-dimensional states of quantum matter. “Google’s quantum processor, called Sycamore, can be precisely controlled and is a well-isolated quantum system that is an important prerequisite for performing quantum calculations,” says Kevin Satzinger, a scientist on the Google team.
The researchers developed a quantum algorithm to realize a state with topological order, which was confirmed by simulating the generation of anyon excitations and twisting them around each other. Fingerprints from far-reaching quantum entanglement were confirmed in their study. As a possible application, such topologically ordered states can be used to improve quantum computers by realizing new ways of error correction. The first steps towards this goal have already been achieved in their work.
“Short-term quantum processors will represent an ideal platform for researching the physics of exotic quantum-phase matter,” says Prof. Frank Pollmann from TUM. “In the near future, quantum processors promise to solve problems that are out of reach for today’s classic supercomputers.”
A new strategy for detecting non-compliant particles called anyons
KJ Satzinger et al., Realizing topologically ordered states on a quantum processor, science (2021). DOI: 10.1126 / science.abi8378
Provided by the Technical University of Munich
Quote: Scientists use quantum processors to simulate 2D states of quantum matter (2021, December 2), accessed on December 2, 2021 from https://phys.org/news/2021-12-scientists-quantum-processor-simulate- 2d.html
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