Quantum simulation is the use of a quantum processor to tackle problems which are quantum in nature, for example the description of how magnets behave at very low temperatures. Over recent years, this paradigm has been successfully used to understand complex many-body physics problems.
Several existing quantum platforms can be used to that end, implementing Hamiltonians of interest for specific problems. But the resulting successes still remain linked to intrinsic properties of those platforms, which limit the range of Hamiltonians which can be simulated.
Platforms based on Rydberg atoms held in arrays of optical tweezers are known to excel in quantum simulation. For instance, they have been used to probe antiferromagnetic order in two and three dimensions, using arrays containing up to hundreds of atoms. These setups also allowed researchers to study exotic phases and quantum phase transitions.
But now, a collaboration of researchers is taking it a step further by implementing the quantum simulation of models which are not native to the platform, as illustrated in the article “Microwave Engineering of Programmable XXZ Hamiltonians in Arrays of Rydberg Atoms”. The article was published beginning of April 2022, by academics from Paris-Saclay University, the University of Heidelberg, and from researchers at PASQAL, leader in Neutral atoms quantum computers. They engineered XXZ Hamiltonians using the resonant dipole-dipole interaction between Rydberg atoms in arrays coupled to a resonant microwave field. As illustrations, they applied this engineering to two iconic situations in spin physics: the Heisenberg model in 2D square arrays & the dynamics of a domain wall in a 1D chain. The results of the experiments highlight the versatility of Rydberg-based quantum processors and widen the range of models that can be studied.
All the quantum simulation platforms are working toward increasing their programmability. The article “Microwave Engineering of Programmable XXZ Hamiltonians in Arrays of Rydberg Atoms” shows the versatility of a Rydberg-based quantum simulator, beyond the implementation native Hamiltonians. We are now a step closer to realizing a fully programmable quantum simulator.
Pasqal builds quantum computers from ordered neutral atoms in 2D and 3D arrays with the goal of bringing a practical quantum advantage to its customers in addressing real-world problems, especially in quantum simulation and optimization. Pasqal was founded in 2019 by Georges-Olivier Reymond, Christophe Jurczak, Professor Dr. Alain Aspect, Dr. Antoine Browaeys and Dr. Thierry Lahaye. Based in Palaiseau and Massy, south of Paris, Pasqal has secured more than €40 million in financing combining equity and non-dilutive funding from Quantonation, the Defense Innovation Fund, Runa Capital, BPI France, ENI and Daphni.