Quantum Simulators Use Lasers to Study Quantum Phenomena

The quantum world is not the easiest place to study, this new Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne simulator could solve this problem.
Donovan Alexander

The quantum world is weird, at times behaving in a manner that commonly defies logic and reason. If you have ever tried to comprehend some of the more complex ideas and theories that drive the quantum world and have felt a little bit lost, you are not alone.


Some of the world’s leading physicists, at times, struggle to wrap their head around the quantum world

Nevertheless, further understanding of the quantum world could not only be the key to unlocking a host of powerful new technologies but could help crack some of the most fundamental questions we have about the nature of our universe.

Researchers from the Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne have proposed a quantum simulator, a device that can be used to study a wide range of quantum systems.

Unlocking the Mysteries of the Universe  

Being able to properly observe or even measure some of the quantum phenomena that occur in the quantum world is something of great interest for researchers, like studying the transition point of magnetic materials at absolute zero, a system that produces quantum entanglement.

However, research in the field of experimental physics is rather limited with how they study this phenomenon. The EPFL quantum simulator could end up changing that.

As stated by Riccardo Rota, one of the authors of the study, “The simulator is a simple photonic device that can easily be built and run with current experimental techniques. But more importantly, it can simulate the complex behavior of real, interacting magnets at very low temperatures."

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The Quantum Simulator

The new tool will be built using superconducting circuits, the technology that lays the framework of modern quantum computers. The circuits on the simulator are paired with laser fields, allowing for the interaction of light particles.

This basically allows for researchers to use photons to run virtual experiments on systems like the quantum magnet mentioned above.

As mentioned by lead author Vincenzo Savona, “We came up with the idea for this particular quantum simulator and modeled its behavior using traditional computer simulations, which can be done when the quantum simulator addresses a small enough system.

“Our findings prove that the quantum simulator we propose is viable, and we are now in talks with experimental groups who would like to actually build and use it.”

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