(From left to right) Magnon gas particles bounce around in many directions inside a magnetic nanostructure. When rapidly cooled, they all spontaneously jump into the same state, forming a Bose-Einstein condensate (BEC). This is a much simpler method to generate the condensate, which could have implications for quantum computing. (Foto: Dr. Andrii Chumak, Technische Universität Kaiserslautern/Universität Wien)
Rapidly cooling magnon particles proves a surprisingly effective way to create an elusive quantum state of matter, called a Bose-Einstein condensate. The discovery can help advance quantum physics research and is a step towards the long-term goal of quantum computing at room temperature.
An international team of scientists have found an easy way to trigger an unusual state of matter called a Bose-Einstein condensate. The new method, recently described in the journal Nature Nanotechnology, is expected to help advance the research and development of quantum computing at room temperature.
The team, led by physicists at the Technische Universität Kaiserslautern (TUK) in Germany and University of Vienna in Austria, generated the Bose-Einstein condensate (BEC) through a sudden change in temperature: first heating up quasi-particles slowly, then rapidly cooling them down back to room temperature. They demonstrated the method using quasi-particles called magnons, which represent the quanta of magnetic excitations of a solid body.
“Many researchers study different types of Bose-Einstein condensates,” said Professor Burkard Hillebrands from TUK, one of the leading researchers in the field of BEC. “The new approach we developed should work for all systems.”
Puzzling and spontaneous
Bose-Einstein condensates, named after Albert Einstein and Satyendra Nath Bose who first proposed they exist, are a puzzling type of matter. They are particles that spontaneously all behave the same way on the quantum level, essentially becoming one entity. Originally used to describe ideal gas particles, Bose-Einstein condensates have been established with atoms, as well as with quasi-particles such as bosons, phonons and magnons.
Creating Bose-Einstein condensates is tricky business because, by definition, they have to occur spontaneously. Setting up the right conditions to generate the condensates means not trying to introduce any kind of order or coherence to encourage the particles to behave the same way; the particles have to do that themselves.
Currently, Bose-Einstein condensates are formed by decreasing the temperature to near absolute zero, or by injecting a large number of particles at room temperature into a small space. However, the room temperature method, which was first reported by Hillebrands and collaborators in 2005, is technically complex and only a few research teams around the world have the equipment and know-how required.
The new method is much simpler. It requires a heating source, and a tiny magnetic nanostructure, measuring a hundred times smaller than the thickness of a human hair.
“Our recent progress in the miniaturization of magnonic structures to nanoscopic scale allowed us to address BEC from completely different perspective,” said Professor Andrii Chumak from the University of Vienna.
The nanostructure is heated up slowly to 200°C to generate phonons, which in turn generate magnons of the same temperature. The heating source is turned off, and the nanostructure rapidly cools down to room temperature in about a nanosecond. When this happens, the phonons escape to the substrate, but the magnons are too slow to react, and remain inside the magnetic nanostructure.
Michael Schneider, lead paper author and a PhD student in TUK’S Magnetism Research Group, explained why this happens: “When the phonons escape, the magnons want to reduce energy to stay in equilibrium. Since they cannot decrease the number of particles, they have to decrease energy in some other way. So, they all jump down to the same low energy level.”
By spontaneously all occupying the same energy level, the magnons form a Bose-Einstein condensate.
“We never introduced coherence in the system,” Chumak said, “so this is a very pure and clear way to create Bose-Einstein condensates.”
As is often the case in science, the team made the discovery quite by accident. They had set out to study a different aspect of nanocircuits when strange things began to happen.
“At first we thought something was really wrong with our experiment or data analysis,” Schneider said.
After discussing the project with collaborators at TUK and in the U.S., they tweaked some experimental parameters to see if the strange thing was in fact a Bose-Einstein condensate. They verified its presence with spectroscopy techniques.
The finding will primarily interest other physicists studying this state of matter. “But revealing information about magnons and their behavior in a form of macroscopic quantum state at room temperature could have bearing on the quest to develop computers using magnons as data carriers,” Hillebrands said.
Chumak stressed the importance of the collaboration within TUK’S OPTIMAS Research Group towards solving the mystery. Combining his team’s expertise in magnonic nanostructures with Hillebrand’s expertise in magnon Bose-Einstein condensates was essential. Their research has received significant support from two European Research Council (ERC) grants.
The Latest Updates from Bing News & Google News
Go deeper with Bing News on:
- Fifty perfect photons for 'quantum supremacy'on June 23, 2020 at 6:35 am
Fifty is a critical number for quantum computers capable of solving problems that classic supercomputers cannot solve. Proving quantum supremacy requires at least 50 qubits. For quantum computers ...
- JPMorgan Shows Its Chops in Quantum Computing. Here’s Why It Matters.on June 22, 2020 at 11:39 am
Quantum computing continues to make advances in fiance. Investors should pay attention now to the mind-bending technology to get an edge in the future.
- Honeywell claims to have built the highest-performing quantum computer availableon June 22, 2020 at 7:11 am
Multinational conglomerate Honeywell International Inc. is claiming to have built the highest-performing quantum computer available today. It made the announcement in a blogpost on its website. The ...
- Honeywell Unveils The World's Fastest Quantum Computeron June 22, 2020 at 3:20 am
The race toward quantum-computing devices capable of beating digital systems in real-world applications continues.
- To live up to the hype, quantum computers must repair their error problemson June 22, 2020 at 3:04 am
Now, multiply that error rate by the billions or trillions of calculations per second possible in a typical modern computer. For complex computations, a small probability for error can quickly ...
Go deeper with Google Headlines on:
Go deeper with Bing News on:
Quantum computing at room temperature
- IonQ raises additional funding for its quantum computing platformon June 16, 2020 at 6:06 am
Quantum computing startup IonQ today announced that it has raised additional funding as part of its previously announced Series B round. This round extends the company’s funding, including its 2019 ...
- Archer Announces Early-Stage Validation of Quantum Computing Chip Viabilityon June 15, 2020 at 8:13 am
Archer Materials Limited is pleased to announce the Company has reached a significant technological milestone in progressing its 12CQ ...
- Archer Materials has early-stage validation of quantum computing chip viabilityon June 14, 2020 at 9:59 pm
State-of-the-art measurement has confirmed room-temperature conductivity of a single qubit component, representing a global competitive advantage in the multi-billion-dollar quantum computing ...
- Quantum computing hopeful Archer (ASX:AXE) reaches tech milestone: Aus shares off to a rocky starton June 14, 2020 at 8:43 pm
Despite positive international leads coming into the session, the Australian share market opened lower and is off to a rocky start. ABS data released today shows the extreme impact of the covid ...
- Archer touts performing early-stage validation of quantum computing chipon June 14, 2020 at 6:19 pm
Archer Materials has announced a milestone in its race to build a room-temperature quantum computing quantum bit (qubit) processor, revealing it has successfully performed its first measurement on a ...