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Quantum Science: From Information to Materials (2012-2014)

Quantum mechanics underlies much of modern physics and provides many extremely powerful tools for computing the properties of physical systems.  Despite its tremendous history spanning almost 100 years and the revolutionary impact of quantum theory, quantum science remains an extremely active area of research with new innovations across many disciplines.  For example, the exploitation of quantum entanglement to enable quantum communication, quantum cryptography, and quantum computing have had profound effects on our understanding of such systems and promoted the development of new quantum algorithms for computing properties of physical systems in more efficient ways.  Further, the interplay among quantum information, cold atom physics, AMO physics, and condensed matter physics continues to grow and flourish:  solid state systems using nano-technology are prime candidates for quantum computers; new materials and processes are emerging from AMO Casimir physics; cold atom systems present opportunities to emulate hard condensed matter problems.  Our work focuses on finding exciting ways to combine LANL capabilities in quantum information, AMO physics and quantum materials.

Quantum science requires an interdisciplinary approach, exploiting the best theoretical and mathematical concepts, the latest technological advances, and the discovery science of experimental quantum physics.  We blend our expertise in correlated quantum materials with the ongoing LANL efforts in the areas of Atomic, Molecular and Optical (AMO) physics and quantum information.  In quantum communication, we explore encoding multiple-bits of secret data in a single photon communicated between users and study how this technology can impact fundamental concepts such as channel capacity.  In AMO physics and quantum optics, we exploit Casimir physics of quantum fluctuations, extend these and similar classical ideas to non-equilibrium systems, and investigate controllable nano-scale thermophysical properties of materials.  In quantum materials we use new advances in materials physics that focus on localization-delocalization effects in correlated electron systems in parallel with simpler, elegant cold atom systems to achieve novel insight into this challenging problem. We also implement quantum algorithms to more efficiently compute properties of quantum magnets.

Focus Areas:

  • Quantum information including cryptography, communication, emulation, and computing.
  • Atomic-Molecular-Optical physics with novel applications of Casimir physics to new device functionality including meta-materials.
  • Quantum materials exploiting connections between idealized cold-atom systems and strongly-correlated condensed matter materials.