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Concept: Quantum field theory


Quantum spin liquids (QSLs) are topological states of matter exhibiting remarkable properties such as the capacity to protect quantum information from decoherence. Whereas their featureless ground states have precluded their straightforward experimental identification, excited states are more revealing and particularly interesting owing to the emergence of fundamentally new excitations such as Majorana fermions. Ideal probes of these excitations are inelastic neutron scattering experiments. These we report here for a ruthenium-based material, α-RuCl3, continuing a major search (so far concentrated on iridium materials) for realizations of the celebrated Kitaev honeycomb topological QSL. Our measurements confirm the requisite strong spin-orbit coupling and low-temperature magnetic order matching predictions proximate to the QSL. We find stacking faults, inherent to the highly two-dimensional nature of the material, resolve an outstanding puzzle. Crucially, dynamical response measurements above interlayer energy scales are naturally accounted for in terms of deconfinement physics expected for QSLs. Comparing these with recent dynamical calculations involving gauge flux excitations and Majorana fermions of the pure Kitaev model, we propose the excitation spectrum of α-RuCl3 as a prime candidate for fractionalized Kitaev physics.

Concepts: Fundamental physics concepts, Quantum state, Spin, Elementary particle, Quantum field theory, Fermion, Standard Model, Neutron


Quantum superpositions of distinct coherent states in a single-mode harmonic oscillator, known as “cat states,” have been an elegant demonstration of Schrödinger’s famous cat paradox. Here, we realize a two-mode cat state of electromagnetic fields in two microwave cavities bridged by a superconducting artificial atom, which can also be viewed as an entangled pair of single-cavity cat states. We present full quantum state tomography of this complex cat state over a Hilbert space exceeding 100 dimensions via quantum nondemolition measurements of the joint photon number parity. The ability to manipulate such multicavity quantum states paves the way for logical operations between redundantly encoded qubits for fault-tolerant quantum computation and communication.

Concepts: Fundamental physics concepts, Quantum harmonic oscillator, Qubit, Quantum state, Quantum entanglement, Photon, Quantum field theory, Quantum mechanics


The precise knowledge of one of two complementary experimental outcomes prevents us from obtaining complete information about the other one. This formulation of Niels Bohr’s principle of complementarity when applied to the paradigm of wave-particle dualism–that is, to Young’s double-slit experiment–implies that the information about the slit through which a quantum particle has passed erases interference. In the present paper we report a double-slit experiment using two photons created by spontaneous parametric down-conversion where we observe interference in the signal photon despite the fact that we have located it in one of the slits due to its entanglement with the idler photon. This surprising aspect of complementarity comes to light by our special choice of the TEM(01) pump mode. According to quantum field theory the signal photon is then in a coherent superposition of two distinct wave vectors giving rise to interference fringes analogous to two mechanical slits.

Concepts: Niels Bohr, Photoelectric effect, Quantum electrodynamics, Uncertainty principle, Quantum field theory, Photon, Electron, Quantum mechanics


Transmitting quantum information between two remote parties is a requirement for many quantum applications; however, direct transmission of states is often impossible because of noise and loss in the communication channel. Entanglement-enhanced state communication can be used to avoid this issue, but current techniques require extensive experimental resources to transmit large quantum states deterministically. To reduce these resource requirements, we use photon pairs hyperentangled in polarization and orbital angular momentum to implement superdense teleportation, which can communicate a specific class of single-photon ququarts. We achieve an average fidelity of 87.0(1)%, almost twice the classical limit of 44% with reduced experimental resources than traditional techniques. We conclude by discussing the information content of this constrained set of states and demonstrate that this set has an exponentially larger state space volume than the lower-dimensional general states with the same number of state parameters.

Concepts: Albert Einstein, Photon, Radio, Quantum field theory, Angular momentum, Spin, Fundamental physics concepts, Quantum mechanics


Quantum computers are unnecessary for exponentially efficient computation or simulation if the Extended Church-Turing thesis is correct. The thesis would be strongly contradicted by physical devices that efficiently perform tasks believed to be intractable for classical computers. Such a task is boson sampling: sampling the output distributions of n bosons scattered by some linear-optical unitary process. Here, we test the central premise of boson sampling, experimentally verifying that 3-photon scattering amplitudes are given by the permanents of submatrices generated from a unitary describing a 6-mode integrated optical circuit. We find the protocol to be robust, working even with the unavoidable effects of photon loss, non-ideal sources, and imperfect detection. Scaling this to large numbers of photons will be a much simpler task than building a universal quantum computer.

Concepts: Computation, Boson, Elementary particle, Particle physics, Quantum field theory, Quantum computer, Photon, Computer


The conventional strain energies for azetidine and phosphetane are determined within the isodesmic, homodesmotic, and hyperhomodesmotic models. Optimum equilibrium geometries, harmonic vibrational frequencies, and corresponding electronic energies and zero-point vibrational energies are computed for all pertinent molecular systems using self-consistent field theory, second-order perturbation theory, and density functional theory and using the correlation consistent basis sets cc-pVDZ, cc-pVTZ, and cc-pVQZ. Single point fourth-order perturbation theory, CCSD, and CCSD(T) calculations using the cc-pVTZ and the cc-pVQZ basis sets are computed using the MP2/cc-pVTZ and MP2/cc-pVQZ optimized geometries, respectively, to ascertain the contribution of higher order correlation effects and to determine if the quadruple-zeta valence basis set is needed when higher order correlation is included. In the density functional theory study, eight different functionals are used including B3LYP, wB97XD, and M06-2X to determine if any functional can yield results similar to those obtained at the CCSD(T) level. © 2012 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

Concepts: Temperature, Basis set, Quantum field theory, Fundamental physics concepts, Density functional theory, Schrödinger equation, Quantum chemistry, Computational chemistry


The symmetry of Cooper pairs is central to constructing a superconducting state. The demonstration of a -wave order parameter with nodes represented a breakthrough for high critical temperature superconductors (HTSs). However, despite this fundamental discovery, the origin of superconductivity remains elusive, raising the question of whether something is missing from the global picture. Deviations from -wave symmetry, such as an imaginary admixture  + is (or id(xy)), predict a ground state with unconventional properties exhibiting a full superconducting gap and time reversal symmetry breaking. The existence of such a state, until now highly controversial, can be proved by highly sensitive measurements of the excitation spectrum. Here, we present a spectroscopic technique based on an HTS nanoscale device that allows an unprecedented energy resolution thanks to Coulomb blockade effects, a regime practically inaccessible in these materials previously. We find that the energy required to add an extra electron depends on the parity (odd/even) of the excess electrons on the island and increases with magnetic field. This is inconsistent with a pure -wave symmetry and demonstrates a complex order parameter component that needs to be incorporated into any theoretical model of HTS.

Concepts: Symmetry, BCS theory, Quantum field theory, Cooper pair, Superconductivity, Quantum mechanics, Fundamental physics concepts, Electron


A theoretical investigation of the possible existence of chiral polaron formation in graphene is reported. We present an analytical method to calculate the ground-state of the electron-phonon system within the framework of the Lee-Low-Pines theory. On the basis of our model, the influence of electron-optical phonon interaction on the graphene electronic spectrum is investigated. We considered only the doubly degenerate optical phonon modes of E(2g) symmetry near the zone center Γ. It is analytically shown that the energy dispersions of both valence and conduction bands of the pristine graphene differ significantly from those obtained through the standard electron self-energy calculations arising from the electron-optical phonon interactions. In this paper, we also show for the first time that the degenerate band structure of the graphene promotes the chiral polaron formation. Furthermore, due to the k-dependent nature of the polaronic self-energy, in analogy with quantum chromodynamics, we also propose a running electron-phonon coupling constant as a function of energy.

Concepts: Particle physics, Chirality, Physics, Standard Model, Phonon, Quantum electrodynamics, Photon, Quantum field theory


A communication protocol is proposed in which vibron-mediated quantum state transfer takes place in a molecular lattice. We consider two distant molecular groups grafted on each side of the lattice. These groups form two quantum computers where vibrational qubits are implemented and received. The lattice defines the communication channel along which a vibron delocalizes and interacts with a phonon bath. Using quasi-degenerate perturbation theory, vibron-phonon entanglement is taken into account through the effective Hamiltonian concept. A vibron is thus dressed by a virtual phonon cloud whereas a phonon is clothed by virtual vibronic transitions. It is shown that three quasi-degenerate dressed states define the relevant paths followed by a vibron to tunnel between the computers. When the coupling between the computers and the lattice is judiciously chosen, constructive interference takes place between these paths. Phonon-induced decoherence is minimized and a high-fidelity quantum state transfer occurs over a broad temperature range.

Concepts: Energy, Qubit, Quantum entanglement, Photon, Quantum field theory, Quantum decoherence, Schrödinger equation, Quantum mechanics


Bi2Se3 initially emerged as a particularly promising host of topological physics. However, in actual materials, several issues have been uncovered including strong surface band bending and potential fluctuations. To investigate these concerns, we study nominally stoichiometric Bi2Se3 using scanning tunnelling microscopy. Here we identify two distinct distributions of BiSe antisites that act as nanometer-scale sensors for the surface band-bending field. To confirm this, we examine bulk Cu-doped Bi2Se3 and demonstrate a significantly reduced surface band-bending field. In addition, we find that in the case of unintentionally doped Bi2Se3, lateral fluctuations of the Dirac point can be directly correlated with specific near-surface point defects, namely Se vacancies.

Concepts: Microscopy, Crystallographic defect, Quantum field theory, Quantum mechanics, ACT, Ring, Real number, Fundamental physics concepts