Researchers explore topology in ultracold atoms in space and time.
In two recent experiments, researchers from JQI and the NSF Quantum Leap Challenge Institute for Robust Quantum Simulation (RQS) used ultracold atoms to explore the landscape of different topological shapes in space and time. This work could lead to new insights into quantum physics and applications in the development of robust quantum computers.
Topology is a mathematical field that classifies objects according to the number of holes they have. In quantum physics, topology is related to the shape taken by quantum waves that travel within the material. Physicists study the winding shape of these quantum particles’ spins as they speed up or slow down.
The researchers used lasers and a radio-frequency magnetic field to create a two-dimensional crystal made up of space and time. The spin of the atoms was then mapped out as they traversed this time-space crystal. The team found that they could shift the entire pattern over by one sub-slot by adjusting how the lasers and magnetic fields aligned with each other.
In a follow-up experiment, the researchers prepared their atoms in different ways and captured freeze frames of several different topological shapes. These results have revealed new mysteries that the researchers are eager to investigate.
This work could lead to a better understanding of quantum physics and its applications in the development of robust quantum computers. It could also open up new possibilities for exploring realms that don’t exist in nature. The researchers are now looking to see if they can make their time-space topology result more robust, as well as investigate what happens when they quickly switch between different topological states.