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Physicists have developed a quantum simulation method that can "virtually cool" an experimental quantum system to a fraction of its actual temperature. The method could potentially allow access to extremely low-temperature phenomena, such as unusual forms of superconductivity, that have never been observed before. The simulation involves preparing multiple copies of the system's quantum state, interfering the states, and making measurements on each copy, which ultimately yields a simulated measurement on the same system at a lower temperature.
The team of physicists, Jordan Cotler at Stanford University and coauthors, has published a paper on the quantum virtual cooling method in a recent issue of Physical Review X.
Researchers - Results - Idea - Connection - Temperature
As the researchers explained, the results are based on the idea that there is a strong connection between temperature and quantum entanglement.
"A modern perspective in physics is that temperature is an emergent property of quantum entanglement," Cotler told Phys.org. "In other words, certain patterns of quantum entanglement give rise to the familiar notion of temperature. By purposefully manipulating the pattern of entanglement in a system, we can gain access to lower temperatures. While these remarkable ideas were previously understood theoretically, we figured out how to implement them experimentally."
Realizations - Cooling - Technique - Researchers - Temperature
Future experimental realizations of the virtual cooling technique could enable researchers to measure temperature in seemingly impossible ways.
"We may be able to use quantum virtual cooling to 'cross' what are called finite-temperature phase transitions," Cotler said. "This seems quite bizarre—it would be like taking two glasses of liquid water, and by making a quantum measurement, you learn about the properties of solid ice. Remarkably, this seems possible in principle, but in practice, we need to use systems that are easier to control than water. Nonetheless, we still may be able to prepare a system in one phase, and use quantum virtual cooling to probe a different phase that...
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