Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Quantum computing? Quantum bar magnets in a transparent salt

Date:
June 15, 2012
Source:
University College London
Summary:
Scientists have managed to switch on and off the magnetism of a new material using quantum mechanics, making the material a test bed for future quantum devices.

This image shows the antiferromagnetic arrangement of the spins (colored arrows) in the magnetic salt used by the Swiss-German-US-London team.
Credit: University College London

Scientists have managed to switch on and off the magnetism of a new material using quantum mechanics, making the material a test bed for future quantum devices.

Related Articles


The international team of researchers led from the Laboratory for Quantum Magnetism (LQM) in Switzerland and the London Centre for Nanotechnology (LCN), found that the material, a transparent salt, did not suffer from the usual complications of other real magnets, and exploited the fact that its quantum spins -- which are like tiny atomic magnets -- interact according to the rules of large bar magnets. The study is published in Science.

Anybody who has played with toy bar magnets at school will remember that opposite poles attract, lining up parallel to each other when they are placed end to end, and anti-parallel when placed adjacent to each other. As conventional bar magnets are simply too large to reveal any quantum mechanical nature, and most materials are too complex for the spins to interact like true bar magnets, the transparent salt is the perfect material to see what's going on at the quantum level for a dense collection of tiny bar magnets.

The team were able to image all the spins in the special salt, finding that the spins are parallel within pairs of layers, while for adjacent layer pairs, they are antiparallel, as large bar magnets placed adjacent to each other would be. The spin arrangement is called "antiferromagnetic." In contrast, for ferromagnets such as iron, all spins are parallel.

By warming the material to only 0.4 degrees Celsius above the absolute "zero" of temperature where all classical (non-quantum) motion ceases, the team found that the spins lose their order and point in random directions, as iron does when it loses its ferromagnetism when heated to 870 Celsius, much higher than room temperature because of the strong and complex interactions between electron spins in this very common solid.

The team also found that they could achieve the same loss of order by turning on quantum mechanics with an electromagnet containing the salt. Thus, physicists now have a new toy, a collection of tiny bar magnets, which naturally assume an antiferromagnetic configuration and for which they can dial in quantum mechanics at will.

"Understanding and manipulating magnetic properties of more traditional materials such as iron have of course long been key to many familiar technologies, from electric motors to hard drives in digital computers," said Professor Gabriel Aeppli, UCL Director of the LCN.

"While this may seem esoteric, there are deep connections between what has been achieved here and new types of computers, which also rely on the ability to tune quantum mechanics to solve hard problems, like pattern recognition in images."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University College London. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. C. Kraemer, N. Nikseresht, J. O. Piatek, N. Tsyrulin, B. D. Piazza, K. Kiefer, B. Klemke, T. F. Rosenbaum, G. Aeppli, C. Gannarelli, K. Prokes, A. Podlesnyak, T. Strassle, L. Keller, O. Zaharko, K. W. Kramer, H. M. Ronnow. Dipolar Antiferromagnetism and Quantum Criticality in LiErF4. Science, 2012; 336 (6087): 1416 DOI: 10.1126/science.1221878

Cite This Page:

University College London. "Quantum computing? Quantum bar magnets in a transparent salt." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 15 June 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/06/120615103941.htm>.
University College London. (2012, June 15). Quantum computing? Quantum bar magnets in a transparent salt. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 30, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/06/120615103941.htm
University College London. "Quantum computing? Quantum bar magnets in a transparent salt." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/06/120615103941.htm (accessed October 30, 2014).

Share This



More Computers & Math News

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Mind-Controlled Prosthetic Arm Restores Amputee Dexterity

Mind-Controlled Prosthetic Arm Restores Amputee Dexterity

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Oct. 29, 2014) — A Swedish amputee who became the first person to ever receive a brain controlled prosthetic arm is able to manipulate and handle delicate objects with an unprecedented level of dexterity. The device is connected directly to his bone, nerves and muscles, giving him the ability to control it with his thoughts. Matthew Stock reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Robots Get Funky on the Dance Floor

Robots Get Funky on the Dance Floor

AP (Oct. 29, 2014) — Dancing, spinning and fighting robots are showing off their agility at "Robocomp" in Krakow. (Oct. 29) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
IBM Taps Into Twitter's Data With New Partnership

IBM Taps Into Twitter's Data With New Partnership

Newsy (Oct. 29, 2014) — The new partnership will allow IBM to access Twitter’s data and analytics to help IBM clients better understand their consumers. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Google To Use Nanoparticles, Wearables To Detect Disease

Google To Use Nanoparticles, Wearables To Detect Disease

Newsy (Oct. 29, 2014) — Google X wants to improve modern medicine with nanoparticles and a wearable device. It's all an attempt to tackle disease detection and prevention. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Space & Time

Matter & Energy

Computers & Math

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

    Environment News

    Technology News



    Save/Print:
    Share:  

    Free Subscriptions


    Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

    Get Social & Mobile


    Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

    Have Feedback?


    Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
    Mobile iPhone Android Web
    Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
    Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
    Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins