13 million euros for basic quantum research

From left: Oriol Romero-Isart, Lukas Novotny, Markus Aspelmeyer and Romain Quidant

The Austrian-based quantum physicists Oriol Romero-Isart and Markus Aspelmeyer, together with Lukas Novotny and Romain Quidant from ETH Zurich, will receive one of the prestigious ERC Synergy Grants. Together they want to explore the limits of the quantum world by positioning a solid-state object containing billions of atoms at two locations simultaneously for the first time.

Cooling magnets with sound

The motion of magnetic objects can be made to interact with their internal acoustic waves. In this way, as physicists from Innsbruck show, nanoparticles can be cooled down to such an extent that they exhibit quantum properties.

Today, most quantum experiments are carried out with the help of light, including those in nanomechanics, where tiny objects are cooled with electromagnetic waves to such an extent that they reveal quantum properties. Now, a team of physicists led by Oriol Romero-Isart at the University of Innsbruck and the Austrian Academy of Sciences is proposing to cool microparticles with sound waves instead.

First diode for magnetic fields

Illustration: Luis Veloso

Innsbruck quantum physicists have constructed a diode for magnetic fields and then tested it in the laboratory. The device, developed by the research groups led by the theorist Oriol Romero-Isart and the experimental physicist Gerhard Kirchmair, could open up a number of new applications.

Atoms don't like jumping rope

Laser light can be used to capture individual atoms along a very thin glass fiber.

Nanooptical traps are a promising building block for quantum technologies. Austrian and German scientists have now removed an important obstacle to their practical use. They were able to show that a special form of mechanical vibration heats trapped particles in a very short time and knocks them out of the trap.

Nanomagnets Levitate Thanks to Quantum Physics

Cosimo Rusconi and Oriol Romero-Isart

Quantum physicists in Oriol Romero-Isart’s research group in Innsbruck show in two current publications that, despite Earnshaw’s theorem, nanomagnets can be stably levitated in an external static magnetic field owing to quantum mechanical principles. The quantum angular momentum of electrons, which also causes magnetism, is accountable for this mechanism.

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