A mysterious particle that can remember the past has been long awaited using a quantum computer. This particle, called anyon, could improve the performance of quantum computers in the future.
Anyon, unlike any other particle we know, keeps a sort of record of where it has been. Usually, if we exchange particles like electrons or photons repeatedly, they become completely exchangeable and we cannot know that the exchange has taken place.
But in the 1970s, physicists realized that this was not the case for certain quasiparticles, which can only exist in two dimensions. This was later called Anyon. Quasiparticles, as the name suggests, are collective vibrations that behave as if they were particles rather than true particles.
Unlike other particles, exchanging anyions fundamentally changes them, and the number of exchanges affects how they oscillate. A particular kind of group, called non-abelian anyons, retains a memory of swapped order. This is the same as a braided rope retains the order in which its strands were crossed. But where the threads of the rope physically interact, anyons interact through the strange quantum phenomenon of entanglement, and the properties of particles are tightly bound through space.
This inherent memory and the quantum nature of quasiparticles make non-abelian anyons an attractive way to do quantum computing, but they have never been discovered experimentally.
now, henrik dryer Quantinuum, a quantum computing company, and his colleagues say they have done just that. Researchers have developed a new quantum processor called H2. It uses ions of ytterbium and barium trapped using magnetic fields and lasers to create quantum bits (qubits), the basic building blocks of quantum computers.
These qubits were then entangled in a shape called a Kagome lattice. This is a pattern of intertwined stars that is often seen in traditional Japanese woven baskets. This gave the qubits identical quantum mechanical properties to those predicted for anyons, and when the team tuned the interactions between qubits in a way equivalent to moving anyons, they tested and properties of anyons.
“This is the first convincing test that we have been able to do it,” he said. Stephen Simon at Oxford University. The fact that we can use quantum computers to tinker with anyons will also help researchers who want to better understand the state of this exotic matter, he says.
However, not everyone agrees that Quantinuum actually created non-Abelian anyons, rather than just simulating them. “I know they’re very excited about what they’re doing, and they should be excited, but it’s still a simulation,” he says. Yannis Pachos at the University of Leeds, England. This means that it may lack certain characteristics found in the real thing.
Dreyer takes a different view, stating that the quasiparticle nature of anyons means the simulation is identical to the real one. “The counterintuitive property of these anyons is that they don’t really care what they’re made of, not physically,” Dreyer says. “They are just about information and entanglement. If you have a system that can create such entanglements, you can create anyons of the same type.”
- quantum computing/