In A Breakthrough, Google Quantum AI Creates Anyon, A Particle That Remembers Its Past

A mysterious and long-sought particle than can remember its past has been created using a quantum computer. The Particle created, called an anyon, could improve the performance of quantum computers in the future.

Thee anyon is unlike any other particle we know because it keeps a kind of record of where it has been.

Assume that you’re shown two identical objects — of atomic sizes — and then asked to close your eyes. Open them again, and you see the same two objects. How can you determine if they have been exchanged/swapped or not? Human intuition says that if the objects are truly identical, there is no way to distinguish.

Normally, repeatedly swapping particles like an electron or a photon renders them completely exchangeable, making it impossible to distinguish or to tell that even the swap has occurred or not.

Now interestingly there is one such particle called 'Anyons', which got its name recently in pandemic period, that can theoretically exist only in 2-dimensional world.

Unlike other particles, swapping anyons fundamentally changes them, with the number of swaps influencing the way they vibrate, thus making it theoretically possible to distinguish.

Groups of a particular variety of Anyons, called a non-Abelian anyon, bear a memory of the order in which they were swapped, just as a braided piece of rope retains the order in which its strands have been crossed over.

In a research paper posted on the preprint server arXiv last October and published in Nature late last week, researchers at Google Quantum AI announced that they had used one of their superconducting quantum processors to observe the peculiar behavior of non-Abelian anyons for the first time ever.

They also demonstrated how this phenomenon could be used to perform quantum computations. Earlier this week the quantum computing company Quantinuum released another study on the topic, complementing Google's initial discovery. These new results open a new path toward topological quantum computation, in which operations are achieved by winding non-Abelian anyons around each other like strings in a braid.

Topological quantum computations are accomplished by entwining the world-lines of non-Abelian anyons. Credit: Google Quantum AI

In a series of experiments, the researchers at Google observed the behavior of these non-Abelian anyons and how they interacted with the more mundane Abelian anyons. Weaving the two types of particles around one another yielded bizarre phenomena—particles mysteriously disappeared, reappeared and shapeshifted from one type to another as they wound around one another and collided.

With this, the research team at Google demonstrated how braiding of non-Abelian anyons might be used in quantum computations. By braiding several non-Abelian anyons together, they were able to create a well-known quantum entangled state called the Greenberger-Horne-Zeilinger (GHZ) state. GHZ states for large numbers of qubits are theorized to give enhanced performance for metrology compared to other qubits superposition states.

The current record for largest GHZ state is 32 qubits and was achieved by Quantinuum's ion trap quantum computer. Quantinuum is a quantum computing company formed from the merger between Honeywell Quantum Solutions and Cambridge Quantum Computing.

Besides Google and Quantinuum, Microsoft is also said to be working for its quantum computing effort using Anyons. Microsoft is attempting to engineer material systems that intrinsically host these anyons.

Post a Comment

Previous Post Next Post
Like this content? Sign up for our daily newsletter to get latest updates.