Redefining magnetism with qubits: developing quantum computing

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  • Researchers have discovered a method to create and characterize custom magnetic objects using quantum bits, or qubits, employing a quantum computer as the physical platform for quantum experiments. This opens up a fresh strategy for creating novel materials and reliable quantum computing.

Alejandro Lopez-Bezanilla, a virtual experimentalist in the Theoretical Division at Los Alamos National Laboratory, remarked, “With the aid of a quantum annealer, we demonstrated a new approach to pattern magnetic states. The corresponding author of a publication describing the study that appeared in Science Advances is Lopez-Bezanilla.

The zero and one bit levels of conventional information technology are not the only possible states that a magnetic quasicrystal lattice can support, according to Lopez-Bezanilla. We can change the magnetic landscape of a quasicrystal object by applying a magnetic field to a finite number of spins. A quasicrystal is a structure made up of the repeating of a few fundamental shapes that follow principles different from those of regular crystals.

Instead of modelling quasicrystals, actual physical experiments on them were carried out for this work alongside theoretical physicist Cristiano Nisoli, who is also affiliated with Los Alamos. This method “lets matter talk to you,” according to Lopez-Bezanilla, “because we go right to the quantum platform and create all the physical interactions at will rather than running computer algorithms.”

Since Roger Penrose in the 1970s invented the aperiodic structures named after him, no one had put a spin on each of their nodes to investigate their behaviour under the operation of a magnetic field.

For the D-Wave computer, Lopez-Bezanilla chose 201 qubits and connected them in such a way as to mimic the shape of a Penrose quasicrystal.

The possibility of encoding more than one bit of information in a single item arises from manipulating the interaction intensity between qubits and the qubits with the external field. This process causes the quasicrystals to settle into various magnetic configurations. Some of these arrangements show no clear orientation ordering of the qubits.

Because they might include a quantum quasiparticle of importance to information science, Lopez-Bezanilla added, “this can work in our advantage.” A spin quasiparticle can transmit information that is unaffected by background noise.

A practical term for the aggregate behaviour of a collection of fundamental constituents is a quasiparticle. Many spins moving as though they were one can be used to explain properties like mass and charge. Alejandro Lopez-Bezanilla and Cristiano Nisoli’s study, “Field-induced magnetic phases in a qubit Penrose quasicrystal,” was published in Science Advances. 10.1126/sciadv.adf6631 is the doi.

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