Feb 7, 2017

For the First Time Scientists Have Observed a Quantum Phase Transition

Posted by in categories: computing, quantum physics

In Brief

  • Scientists were able to rig up a system in which they could view a “photon-blockade breakdown” where the system switched from opaque to transparent.
  • This discovery has implications in both the development of advanced computer memory systems and better quantum simulations in the future.

For the first time, physicists have experimentally observed a first-order phase transition occur in a quantum system – verifying years of theoretical predictions.

Phase transitions are something that we see on a daily basis when our ice melts into water, or steam evaporates from a boiling kettle. While these transitions are easy for us to observe, phase transitions also happen on the very tiny, quantum-scale, where they play an important role in physics. But, up until now, no one had ever witnessed one experimentally.

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