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Physicists have created a strange phase of matter with two time dimensions – Scientific Exploration – cnBeta.COM

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Physicists have created a strange phase of matter with two time dimensions – Scientific Exploration – cnBeta.COM

Scientists at the Center for Computational Quantum Physics at the Flatiron Institute in New York City have created a new, never-before-seen phase of matter. Its peculiarity is that atoms have two dimensions of time, even though they exist in our single stream of time. The team published their research in Nature on July 20, local time.


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Physicists created this strange phase of matter by firing lasers that pulsed based on a Fibonacci sequence at atoms used within a quantum computer. They believe this could be a breakthrough in quantum computing, as it could protect stored information from errors that occur in current quantum storage methods. Data degradation still occurs, but at a much slower rate.

Philipp Dumitrescu, lead author of the paper on the study, said he has been working on the theory behind the science for more than five years, but this is the first time it has been “implemented” in an actual experiment.

“[This dynamic topological phase]is a completely different way of thinking about the phases of matter,” Dumitrescu told Phys.org.

The researchers implemented their theory by strobing ions of an element called ytterbium in a quantum computer. When they hit the ions with the standard repeating pattern (AB, AB, AB…), the resulting qubits remained quantized for 1.5 seconds, which they noted was an incredible improvement.

Yet when they bombarded the ions with Fibonacci pulses (A, AB, ABA, ABAAB, ABAABABA…), the qubits remained in their super state for an astonishing 5.5 seconds. These results are remarkable considering that a qubit has an average lifetime of about 500 nanoseconds (0.00000005 seconds). This short lifetime is because the qubit leaves its superstate (where it exists as both a 1 and a 0) whenever it is observed or measured. Even interactions with other qubits are enough to destroy this quantumness.

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“Even if you tightly control all atoms, they lose their quantum nature by talking to the environment, heating up, or interacting with things in ways you didn’t plan,” Dumitrescu said. The coherence decreases after a few laser pulses.”

The physics behind it is rather elusive to the average person, but is illustrated in the Penrose tile pattern above. Like typical crystals, this quasicrystal has a stable lattice whose structure never repeats. This pattern is a 2D display of a 5D square lattice.

The researchers wanted to create a similarly symmetrical structure, but instead of building it in space, they built it in time. Physicists used a Fibonacci pulsed laser to create a high-dimensional quantum bit with “time symmetry.” When “squashed” into our 4D realm, the resulting qubits have two dimensions of time. This extra dimension protects the qubit from degradation to some extent. However it only works on the outer “edges” (the first and tenth qubits) of the series of 10 ytterbium ions.

“With this quasi-periodic sequence there is a complex evolution process that cancels out all the errors that live on the edge,” Dumitrescu said. “Because of this, the edge remains quantum mechanically consistent longer than you might expect. many.”

Although physicists have shown that the technique creates more robust qubits, they admit they still have a lot of work to do. This new phase of matter could yield long-term quantum information storage, but only if they can somehow integrate it into a quantum computer.

“We have this straightforward, tantalizing application, but we need to find a way to hook it up to computing,” Dumitrescu said. “It’s an open problem we’re trying to solve.”

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