Scientists use laser light to achieve quantum states at room temperature, a first

The team used a “corkscrew” shaped polarized laser light source.

A global team of researchers has revealed a quantum breakthrough that could transform current computing and data infrastructure.

The team used light to induce quantum behavior at room temperature, turning a nonmagnetic material magnetic.

On the quantum level, particles defy classic laws of physics and can present magnetic or superconducting behavior. Researchers have been studying quantum particles to be able to replicate their behavior in other materials.

Scientists use laser light to achieve quantum states at room temperature, a first

Magnetism is inherently quantum mechanical. As we’ve come to understand that, so has our ability increasingly grown to crack open this fundamental world. Quantum technology stands to impact some of the most relevant industries in our world at almost the speed of light. And light, it turns out, held the key to opening that door.

Researchers magnetize a nonmagnetic material

The research team successfully magnetized strontium titanate, a gemstone, using laser light at a particular intensity and frequency. By doing so, the team has become the first in the world to demonstrate laser light’s ability to induce magnetism in a non-magnetic material at room temperature experimentally.

Quantum experiments of this nature have worked only in extremely cold conditions until now.

While a physicist claimed to have discovered a superconductor capable of working at room temperature in March 2023, his findings were deemed to be manipulated earlier this month, with the journal Nature retracting two research papers of his.

“The innovation in this method lies in the concept of letting light move atoms and electrons in this material in circular motion, so to generate currents that make it as magnetic as a refrigerator magnet,” explained research leader Stefano Bonetti at Stockholm University and the Ca’ Foscari University of Venice.

The team was able to do so by developing a new circularly polarized light that “stirs up” titanium atoms and generates currents. In this case, the light had a “corkscrew” shape which seemed to do the trick.

Scientists use laser light to achieve quantum states at room temperature, a first

Just the beginning

Not only did the team magnetize a nonmagnetic material, but they also demonstrated that their approach works. Their approach can now be applied to other insulators, reducing the need to use metals for their magnetic properties.

“In the long run, this opens for completely new applications in society,” Bonetti concludes.

“This opens sup for ultra-fast magnetic switches that can be used for faster information transfer and considerably better data storage, and for computers that are significantly faster and more energy-efficient,” added Alexander Balatsky, a professor of physics at the Nordic Institute of Theoretical Physics (NORDITA).

Light has just opened a brand new chapter in technology by being able to manipulate materials at the quantum level and room temperature.

The research team includes scientists from Stockholm University and NORDITA in Sweden, the University of Connecticut and the SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory in the USA, the National Institute for Materials Science in Tsukuba, Japan, the Elettra-Sincrotrone Trieste, the ‘Sapienza’ University of Rome and the Ca’ Foscari University of Venice in Italy.

Reference: Research Paper

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