A new European project is launched that also promises to revolutionize the use of lasers, making them key components of quantum technologies: from sensors to communication, up to calculation. But not only. The large project funded by the European Flagship on Quantum Technologies, Qombs, coordinated by the National Institute of Optics of the National Research Council, among its complex and compelling objectives also aims to transport the electron current thanks to quantum simulation and to redesign the quantum properties of semiconductor lasers with ultra-cold atoms.
Researchers from Cnr-Ino and the European Laboratory of Nonlinear Spectroscopy (Lens) in Florence, together with colleagues from the Institute of Materials (Cnr-Iom) and of University of Trieste and Bologna, have published in the journal Advanced Quantum Technologies a work that for the first time describes the physical model to achieve this goal. “The ability to manipulate sets of atoms at temperatures close to absolute zero, an unreachable limit temperature, opens up unprecedented possibilities to simulate phenomena so complex as to be, in fact, impractical for any supercomputer” underline Francesco Minardi (Cnr-Ino and University of Bologna) and Giacomo Roati (Cnr-Ino and LENS), leader of the experiments.
“So far – explain Minardi and Roati- quantum simulation with the use of ultra-cold atoms, reproducing the quantum characteristics of this limit state and allowing them to be modulated appropriately, it was used to study models of magnetic and superconducting materials. The QombsS project shows though that it can be used to redesign properties such as ‘squeezing’ and ‘entanglement’ of lasers already widespread in the world and commercially produced, such as quantum cascade ones. ”
Augusto Smerzi of Cnr-Ino, and international coordinator of the Qombs project, also explains that “this work concerns the design of a quantum simulator that can be implemented with a system of ultra-cold atoms which therefore allows us to better understand the dynamics of the electrons inside the laser quantum cascade currently in production, very difficult to observe, aiming to improve today’s lasers and create new ones tomorrow “.
“The European Union is aiming for world leadership in the strategic sector of quantum technologies. We are at the first stage of a real revolution guided by these technologies and the simulation of quantum phenomena can give a great innovative impulse in many disciplines “comments Paolo De Natale, Italian representative in the Quantum Community Network-Qcn Committee of the European Flagship on Quantum Technologies.