Conceptual picture of the new exotic quantum states that have been generated in Innsbruck. The generation of quantum entanglement in a string of 20 single atoms is shown. Entanglement between neighboring atom pairs (blue), atom triplets (pink), atom quadruplets (red) and quintuplets (yellow) was observed, before the system became too complex to characterize with existing techniques. (Credit: IQOQI Innsbruck/Harald Ritsch)

Entanglement is of central importance for the new quantum technologies of the 21st century. A German-Austrian research team is now presenting the largest entangled quantum register of individually controllable systems to date, consisting of a total of 20 quantum bits. The physicists in Innsbruck, Vienna and Ulm are pushing experimental and theoretical methods to the limits of what is currently possible.

A new method allows scientists to trap atoms between steep walls. (Credit: N.Beier/JQI)

A new landscape promises to bring ultracold atomic neighbors closer than ever before. A corresponding concept was recently published by a team of scientists from the Joint Quantum Institute (JQI) and the Institute of Quantum Optics and Quantum Information (IQOQI).

IQOQI Innsbruck/Harald Ritsch

An Innsbruck team of experimental physicists, in collaboration with theorists from Innsbruck and Hannover, has for the first time observed so-called roton quasiparticles in a quantum gas. Empirically introduced by Landau to explain the bizarre properties of superfluid liquid Helium, these quasiparticles reflect an "energy softening" in the system as precursor of a crystallization instability. The new work published in Nature Physics demonstrate similar phenomena in the quantum-gas phase thanks to magnetic interactions, paving the way for a novel understanding of paradigmatic states of quantum fluids, such as supersolids.

Peter Zoller

This week, Peter Zoller will be presented with the 2018 Willis Lamb Award for Laser Physics and Quantum Optics. The award ceremony will take place on Wednesday as part of the Winter Colloquium at the Physics of Quantum Electronics Conference in Snowbird, Utah. Together with Peter Zoller, Jian-Wei Pan and Ernst Rasel are also honoured.