Experimental breakthrough towards quantum supercomputers

Experimental breakthrough towards quantum supercomputers

Scientists from four European countries have confirmed one of the models of spin magnetism intuited by Duncan Halden, Nobel Prize winner in 2016

Artistic rendering of a triangulene quantum spin chain absorbed on a gold surface and probed with the sharp tip of a tunneling microscope
Artistic rendering of a triangulene quantum spin chain absorbed on a gold surface and probed with the sharp tip of a tunneling microscope

Advance towards quantum supercomputers. Under the guidance of scientists fromInternational Iberian Nanotechnology Laboratory and EMPA, international team of researchers from Switzerland, Portugal, Germany e Spain managed to build chains of Quantum spins a basis of carbon, managing to experimentally “catch” the emergence of one of key models of the quantum magnetism first proposed in 1983 by the London scientist Frederick Duncan Michael Haldane, winner of the Nobel Prize in Physics in 2016.
Published in the magazine "Nature", the results of the all-European team could have widespread implications in understanding the two-dimensional quantum magnetism and could contribute to the emerging boom of the quantum calculation.

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Triangulene molecules measuring one (one billionth of a metre) and seven nanometers
Triangulene molecules measuring one (one billionth of a metre) and seven nanometers

An inversion of natural principles: from the greatest to the smallest

We are all used to the idea that the simplest units in nature they interact for fform complex structures.
Let's take, for example, the chain of life, where the atoms they combine to form molecules, molecules they come together to generate cells, cells they aggregate to form "Fabrics, and so on, eventually leading to the formation of complex organisms as the humans.
In quantum world, however, where scientists are chasing exceptional new supercomputers, this process can work in reverse, where the interactions between two complex objects lead to the emergence of simpler species.

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“Father and Mother” from the “Spin Family” series (2009) by the sculptor and former physicist Julian Voss-Andreae: the two objects depicted illustrate the geometries of an object with Spin 5/2 (the blue “male” on the left) and of an item with Spin 2 (the pink “female” on the right). On display in the "Quantum Objects" art exhibition, the “Spin Family” playfully compares Fermions to male gender and bosons to female gender, imagining the first objects with Spin 1/2, 1, 3/2, 2 et 5/2 as a family of five.
“Father and Mother” from the “Spin Family” series (2009) by the sculptor and former physicist Julian Voss-Andreae: the two objects depicted illustrate the geometries of an object with Spin 5/2 (the blue “male” on the left) and of an item with Spin 2 (the pink “female” on the right). On display in the "Quantum Objects" art show, the "Spin Family" playfully compares Fermions to masculine gender and bosons to feminine gender, imagining the first objects with Spin 1/2, 1, 3/2, 2 et 5/2 as a family of five.

A magic of physics: the Spins of the magnets "sawn" in half

  elementary particles they have one "Spin", a fundamental property that regulates their interaction with i magnetic fields.
Spins are quantized, which means they can hire only discrete values. Spin is a form of angular momentum, having the dimensions of this physical entity and, although there is no one corresponding size in classical mechanics, by analogy recalls the rotation of the particle around its axis: it is in fact also defined as intrinsic angular momentum.
However, it is necessary to clarify that the Spin is not associated to real rotation of the particle according to the common concept applied to macroscopic objects; Indeed, photons or electrons, which are considered punctiform, also own a Spin.
- electrons have the smallest Spin possible that can take two discrete values, while the next simpler systems are those whose Spin assumes three discrete values: These are nicknamed Spin ½ e Spin 1, respectively.
In 80 years, it was hypothesized that a one-dimensional chain of units of Spin 1 interacting should be "fractional", so that the end units of the chain they behave, against intuitively, as objects of Spin ½.
So right like magicians and illusionists they seem sawing a… person in two halves and separate it, the quantum correlations in the chain divide a Spin 1 in two entities of Spin ½.

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The chemical formula of Triangulene, a triangular polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon with Spin 1
The chemical formula of Triangulene, a triangular polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon with Spin 1

The excitations of the hydrocarbon Triangulene on a gold base

Test this prediction in the laboratory it was always challenging for various reasons, the main one being that i materials conventional they are not one dimensional.
While the indirect proof of a spin fractionation has been noted in crystals of organometallic chains containing transition metal ions, a direct observation of the phenomenon has always remained a mirage.
An international team of researchers, now made up of International Iberian Laboratory of Nanotechnology di Braga and come on Swiss Federal Laboratories for Materials Science and Technology di Dübendorf, St. Gallen e Thun, has found a remarkable path for accomplish this feat and make outstanding supercomputers.
Combining organic chemistry , surface science in ultra-high vacuum, the team fabricated chains of a triangular polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon with Spin 1, known as Triangulene.
Using a tunneling microscope, the team of researchers then probed the magnetic excitations of these chains Spin on one gold surface.
They found that, over a certain length, the terminal units of the Triangulene chains they exhibited rKondo resonances, which are aspectroscopic fingerprint characteristic of quantum objects di Spin ½ in contact with one metal surface.

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Artistic rendering of a triangulene quantum spin chain absorbed on a gold surface and probed with the sharp tip of a tunneling microscope
Artistic rendering of a triangulene quantum spin chain absorbed on a gold surface and probed with the sharp tip of a tunneling microscope

From two-dimensional networks of magnets to quantum computers

The researchers are convinced that i molecular spin systemsi easily and directly accessible, showing a behavior tightly related to electrons, will become a fertile playground for developing and test new theoretical concepts.
In addition to exploring the Spin linear chainsi, scientists are also focusing on two-dimensional networks di quantum magnets. Such Spin networks are a promising one material platform is preferably used for quantum computing and supercomputers.

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Researchers Shantanu Mishra, Pascal Ruffieux and Roman Fasel from EMPA next to a plant for the creation of ultra-high vacuum, in which the preparation of spin chains of Triangulene took place (Photo: Gian Vaitl/EMPA)
Researchers Shantanu Mishra, Pascal Ruffieux and Roman Fasel from EMPA next to an ultrahigh vacuum plant, where the preparation of spin chains of Triangulene took place
(Photo: Gian Vaitl/EMPA)