Australian engineers solve 60-year-old quantum puzzle

US, WASHINGTON (ORDO NEWS) — Nearly 60 years ago, Nobel laureate physicist Nikola Bloomberg predicted a new phenomenon called nuclear electrical resonance. But no one was able to demonstrate it in action – so far.

Actual evidence of nuclear electrical resonance was accidentally discovered in a laboratory at the University of New South Wales (UNSW) in Australia due to faulty equipment. The breakthrough gives scientists a new level of control over the nuclei and can seriously accelerate the development of quantum computers.

Central to this phenomenon is the idea of ​​controlling the rotation of individual atoms using electric rather than magnetic fields. This means more precise control of the nuclei, which can affect various fields of science.

“This discovery means that we now have the opportunity to create quantum computers using monatomic spins without the need for any vibrational magnetic field to work,” says quantum physicist Andrea Morello from UNSW.

“Moreover, we can use these cores as exquisitely accurate sensors of electric and magnetic fields or to answer fundamental questions of quantum science.”

In some situations, nuclear electrical resonance can replace nuclear magnetic resonance, which today is widely used for various purposes: for scanning human bodies, chemical elements, rock formations and much more.

The problem with the magnetic field is that it requires powerful currents, large coils and significant space.

If you want to control individual atomic nuclei – perhaps for quantum computing or very small sensors – then nuclear magnetic resonance is not a good tool to work with.

“Performing magnetic resonance is like trying to move a specific ball onto a pool table by lifting and shaking the entire table,” Morello says. “We will move the intended ball, but we will also move all the others.”

“A breakthrough in studying electrical resonance is like giving a real billiard stick to hit the ball exactly where you want it.”

It was during the nuclear magnetic resonance experiment that the UNSW researchers solved the problem posed by Bloomberg in 1961, and all this was connected with a broken antenna. After some unexpected results, the researchers realized that their equipment was faulty – and demonstrated nuclear electrical resonance.

With subsequent computer simulations, the team was able to show that electric fields can affect the nucleus at a fundamental level, distorting the atomic bonds around the nucleus and causing its reorientation.

Now that scientists know how nuclear electrical resonance can work, they can explore new ways to use it. Moreover, we can add this to the growing list of significant scientific discoveries that were made by chance.

“This momentous result will open up a treasury of discoveries,” says Morello. “The system we created is complex enough to study how the classical world that we feel every day leaves the quantum sphere.”

“Moreover, we can use its quantum complexity to create electromagnetic field sensors with significantly improved sensitivity. And all this in a simple electronic device made of silicon, with a small voltage applied to the metal electrode.”


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The article is written and prepared by our foreign editors from different countries around the world – material edited and published by Ordo News staff in our US newsroom press.