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Quantum Simulators Wield Control Over More Than 50 Qubits

Atoms Provide a Robust Platform for Observing Quantum Magnets in Action.

Clear spheres are shown over top of pink concentric rings
Credit: E. Edwards/JQI

Artist's depiction of quantum simulation. Lasers manipulate an array of over 50 atomic qubits in order to study the dynamics of quantum magnetism.

COLLEGE PARK, Md.—Two independent teams of scientists, including one from the Joint Quantum Institute (JQI, University of Maryland/NIST), have used more than 50 interacting atoms to mimic magnetic quantum matter, surpassing the complexity of previous demonstrations.

As the basis for its quantum simulation, the JQI team deploys up to 53 individual ytterbium ions—charged atoms trapped in place by gold-coated and razor-sharp electrodes. A complementary design by Harvard and MIT researchers uses 51 uncharged rubidium atoms confined by an array of laser beams. With so many qubits these quantum simulators are on the cusp of exploring physics that is unreachable by even the fastest modern supercomputers. And adding even more qubits is just a matter of lassoing more atoms into the mix.

For more information, see the JQI news release here.

Released November 29, 2017, Updated February 16, 2018