Feb 22, 2022

Physicists harness electrons to make ‘synthetic dimensions’

Posted by in categories: particle physics, quantum physics

Our spatial sense doesn’t extend beyond the familiar three dimensions, but that doesn’t stop scientists from playing with whatever lies beyond.

Rice University physicists are pushing spatial boundaries in new experiments. They’ve learned to control electrons in gigantic Rydberg atoms with such precision they can create “synthetic dimensions,” important tools for .

The Rice team developed a technique to engineer the Rydberg states of ultracold strontium atoms by applying resonant microwave electric fields to couple many states together. A Rydberg state occurs when one electron in the atom is energetically bumped up to a highly , supersizing its orbit to make the atom thousands of times larger than normal.

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