Physicists use light flashes to discover, control new quantum states of matter

ScienceDaily | 8/20/2019 | Staff
AavyAavy (Posted by) Level 4
But, it takes paragraphs, analogies, illustrations, internet searches and a willingness to decipher talk about "non-equilibrium quantum phase discovery via non-thermal ultrafast quench near quantum critical points" to get a handle on those eight words.

Even though it's a head-scratcher, Wang's work could be a big deal to all of us.

Quantum - Physics - Particles - Energy - Scales

Harnessing quantum physics -- the particles and energy down at atomic scales -- could lead to better computing, sensing, communicating and data storing technologies. But first researchers such as Wang -- a professor of physics and astronomy at Iowa State University and a physicist at the U.S. Department of Energy's Ames Laboratory -- need to provide more answers about the quantum world.

In Wang's case, many of those answers are coming from quantum terahertz spectroscopy that can visualize and steer electrons.

Grant - US - Army - Research - Office

A three-year, $465,000 grant from the U.S. Army Research Office has supported the spectroscopy studies by Wang and his research group.

Wang and his team have announced three discoveries based on those studies:

Nature - Materials - Pulses - Photons - Laser

The first, reported in Nature Materials, describes how ultrafast pulses of photons -- laser flashes at trillions of cycles per second -- can switch on a state of matter hidden by superconductivity, the flow of electricity without resistance, usually at super-cold temperatures. The discovery demonstrates a new tuning knob -- called "quantum quench" by the physicists -- for non-equilibrium materials discovery such as switching on exotic, hidden states without temperature change.

The second, reported in Physical Review Letters, describes how the terahertz instrumentation can trace electron pairings in materials, revealing a new, light-induced, long-lived state of matter.

Nature - Photonics - Flashes - Wang - Collaborators

And the third, reported in Nature Photonics, describes how the ultrafast flashes of light Wang and his collaborators work with can be used like a knob to control and accelerate supercurrents. The flashes break equilibrium symmetry, thus triggering forbidden quantum oscillations that can't be achieved by...
(Excerpt) Read more at: ScienceDaily
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