Weakly Abstract: February 18 – February 22

Another Monday, another Weakly Abstract. This week’s Weakly Abstract is "Creation, manipulation, and detection of anyons in optical lattices" by Aguado et al:

Creation, manipulation, and detection of anyons in optical lattices
Authors: M. Aguado, G. K. Brennen, F. Verstraete, J. I. Cirac

Anyons are particle-like excitations of strongly correlated phases of matter with very exotic physical properties. Unlike bosons and fermions, they have so-called fractional statistics, which are characterized by non-trivial changes in the quantum wavefunction when two of them interchange their positions. Those changes can, in turn, be used to perform quantum computations [A. Yu. Kitaev, Annals Phys. 303, 2 (2003), arXiv:quant-ph/9707021v1], something which has renewed the interest in the investigation of physical systems where anyons may be present, manipulated and detected. In this work we show how this can be accomplished in the context of optical lattices. Our proposal just requires one (or several) ancilla particle(s) which can: (i) undergo single particle gates; (ii) be moved close to each constituents of the lattice and undergo a simple quantum gate; (iii) be detected. Recent experimental progress with atoms in optical lattices makes our proposal feasible with present technology.

Aguado et al propose a method for generating and controlling anyonic excitations in optical lattice systems via coupling atoms in the lattice to well-controlled ancilla particles. The amount of stuff that I don’t know about topological quantum computing could fill a few textbooks, so if anyone would like to elaborate further on the results of this paper they should feel free to do so in the comments section.

I think that Gavin Brennen (the second author) talked about these results at QEC07 but I can’t verify this as his talk doesn’t seem to be available on the QEC website (btw, there are some fantastic talks available there). Does anyone else remember Gavin’s talk?