By Physics Survey Overview Committee, Board on Physics and Astronomy, National Research Council
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Additional info for Physics in a New Era: An Overview (Physics in a New Era: A Series)
In a remarkable recent experiment, a magnetic atom was placed at one focus so that its magnetic properties were “projected” to the other focus. The resulting “phantom atom,” also known as a “quantum mirage,” was detected by scanning the STM tip over the other focus. Electrons tunneling from the tip to the surface were used to probe the magnetic structure of the atom, which was faithfully reproduced at the second focus, as illustrated in the top portion of the figure. The large peak at the left is associated with the electronic structure of the atom, and the smaller peak at the right is the mirage.
Some involve the synthesis of an entirely new compound or material with unexpected properties. In other cases, advances in processing have allowed the fabrication of new or modified materials or structures whose properties were suspected before the material was actually made. This may allow a well-known compound to be remade in a new form with different properties. Finally, well-known materials sometimes exhibit new (and in some cases unexpected) properties that appear when the ability to process them is improved.
Using combinations of laser light and radio waves to manipulate the trapped atoms, rudimentary computational operations have been performed on qubits. Quantum engineering methods can be extended from a single atom to entangled states of many atoms using a suitable coupling mechanism. The strong electrical interaction between trapped charged atoms provides such a mechanism, and four-atom entangled states (four qubits) have recently been demonstrated. Physicists are still exploring the fundamental science in Copyright © National Academy of Sciences.
Physics in a New Era: An Overview (Physics in a New Era: A Series) by Physics Survey Overview Committee, Board on Physics and Astronomy, National Research Council