Sep 2, 2019

A method to simulate strongly correlated phases of quantum gauge theories

Posted by in categories: mathematics, particle physics, quantum physics

Quantum gauge theories are mathematical constructs that are typically used by physicists to describe subatomic particles, their associated wave fields and the interactions between them. The dynamics outlined by these theories are difficult to compute, yet effectively emulating them in the lab could lead to valuable new insight and discoveries.

In a recent study, a team of researchers at ETH Zurich’s Institute for Quantum Electronics successfully implemented a fundamental ingredient for the simulation of quantum gauge theories in a laboratory experiment. Their hope is that by simulating in a highly controlled environment, they will gather interesting observations and broaden their understanding of many-body systems (i.e., systems with many particles that interact with each other).

“Usually, our work is inspired by phenomena in solid state physics such as strongly correlated phases of electrons in complex materials,” Tilman Esslinger, one of the researchers who carried out the study, told “In our current work, however, we wanted to extend the scope of our experimental platform (i.e., in optical lattices) in order to investigate a new set of phenomena occurring in high-energy and condensed matter physics. The objective was to demonstrate that it is possible to engineer gauge fields in our setup that are dynamical quantum degrees of freedom due to their coupling to a matter field.”

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