Rice University's high-profile efforts to create a quantum
simulator were featured this week in Science magazine's coveted "Breakthrough
of the Year" coverage.
Hulet's team used lithium atoms cooled to within a few billionths of a degree of
absolute zero to create a precise analog of a one-dimensional superconducting
research is part of a three-year,
$5-million effort aimed at using grids of intersecting laser beams and
supercooloed atoms to simulate the sometimes vexing behavior of superconductors
and other materials.
Describing the significance of quantum-simulator progress in 2010,
Science wrote that while physicists usually invent theoretical models to
explain experiments, quantum simulators can "let the experiment solve the
That could prove particularly useful for the study of
high-temperature superconductors, materials that have defied theoretical
description for more than three decades.
Science lauded Hulet, Rice's Fayez Sarofim Professor of Physics
and Astronomy, and other teams that showed in 2010 that quantum simulators
could reproduce known results -- the first step toward the larger goal of
exploring the unknown.
The Nature study -- "Spin-imbalance in a one-dimensional
Fermi gas," by Y. Liao et al., Nature 467, 567 (2010) -- is available here.
Prof. Hulet's research webpage can be found here.