Researchers at JILA have for the first time used an atomic clock as a quantum simulator, mimicking the behavior of a different, more complex quantum system.
Atomic clocks now join a growing list of physical systems that can be used for modeling and perhaps eventually explaining the quantum mechanical behavior of exotic materials such as high-temperature superconductors, which conduct electricity without resistance. All but the smallest, most trivial quantum systems are too complicated to simulate on classical computers, hence the interest in quantum simulators. Sharing some of the features of experimental quantum computers—a hot research topic—quantum simulators are “special purpose” devices designed to provide insight into specific challenging problems. (more…)