Breakthrough in physics could help us better understand quantum computing » TwistedSifter

Researchers in Barcelona have created a new quantum simulation using Bose-Einstein condensates (also known as the fifth state of matter) for the first time to create gauge theory – the mathematical model that underlies the interaction between particles.

According Nature This new simulation is particularly important because of the important role that gauge theories play in modern physics. Other gauge theories include electromagnetism, relativity, and the unification of non-gravitational fundamental forces.

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The gauge theory simulated by the Barcelona group is chiral BF and involves the behavior of electrons moving in one dimension, restricted to a single edge of a material. The team then experimented with the behavior of electrons using potassium, chosen because it has two isotopes, and each would behave differently.

A potassium cloud was cooled to a billionth of a degree above absolute zero and trapped in a single line using lasers. Using laser light, the potassium isotopes combined into a single state and the cloud exhibited unusual behavior. When pushed to the left, it expanded normally. But when pushed to the right, the potassium isotope interactions became attractive and the cloud retained its shape.

With the help of theoretical physicist Alessio Celi, the group was able to relate the BF chiral gauge data to experimental results, understand the model behind electron behavior, and establish parameters that perfectly simulate gauge theory.

In the future, the Barcelona team plans to study the same behaviors in other gauge theories, including the Chern-Simons gauge theory, which involves future quantum computers.

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Sherry J. Basler