Department of Physics, Engineering Physics & Astronomy

Department of Physics, Engineering Physics & Astronomy
Department of Physics, Engineering Physics & Astronomy

Trapped Atoms and Quantum Computers

Dr. Brian King
Department of Physics and Astronomy

Wednesday, March 12, 2003
1:30 PM @ Stirling A

Abstract:

Quantum systems can behave in ways that classical systems (like bullets or cars or people) can't. For example, an atom can - in some sense - be in two different energy levels at the same time! This "schizophrenic" nature of quantum objects can enable us to build computers which can solve some problems much faster than can conventional computers. The trick is to create a computer "architecture" that preserves quantum behaviour - even in the presence of noise. Trapped atomic ions offer such an architecture. We hold ions in place with electromagnetic fields, and control their quantum behaviour using lasers. With such a system, we can build a rudimentary quantum computer and, at the same time, realize a "nano-laboratory" for studying to more bizarre aspects of quantum mechanics.

Refreshments will be available in the lounge after the talk.