From The DOE’s Sandia National Laboratories And The MPG Institute for the Science of Light [MPG Institut für die Physik des Lichts] (DE) And The DOE’s Los Alamos National Laboratory: “Through the quantum looking glass”

From The DOE’s Sandia National Laboratories

9.8.22
TROY RUMMLER

A thin device triggers one of quantum mechanics’ strangest and most useful phenomena.

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QUANTUM LOOKING GLASS — Green laser light illuminates a metasurface that is a hundred times thinner than paper, which was fabricated at the Center for Integrated Nanotechnologies. CINT is jointly operated by Sandia and The DOE’s Los Alamos National Laboratories for The DOE Office of Science. (Photo by Craig Fritz)

An ultrathin invention could make future computing, sensing and encryption technologies remarkably smaller and more powerful by helping scientists control a strange but useful phenomenon of quantum mechanics, according to new research recently published in the journal Science [below].

Scientists at Sandia and The MPG Institute for the Science of Light have reported on a device that could replace a roomful of equipment to link photons in a bizarre quantum effect called entanglement. This device — a kind of nano-engineered material called a metasurface — paves the way for entangling photons in complex ways that have not been possible with compact technologies.

When scientists say photons are entangled they mean they are linked in such a way that actions on one affect the other no matter where or how far apart the photons are in the universe. It is an effect of quantum mechanics, the laws of physics that govern particles and other very tiny things.

Although the phenomenon might seem odd, scientists have harnessed it to process information in new ways. For example, entanglement helps protect delicate quantum information and correct errors in quantum computing, a field that could someday have sweeping impacts in areas such as national security, science and finance. Entanglement is also enabling new, advanced encryption methods for secure communication.

Research for the groundbreaking device, which is a hundred times thinner than a sheet of paper, was performed, in part, at the Center for Integrated Nanotechnologies, a DOE Office of Science user facility operated by Sandia and Los Alamos national laboratories. Sandia’s team received funding from the Office of Science, Basic Energy Sciences program.

Light goes in and entangled photons come out

The new metasurface acts as a doorway to this unusual quantum phenomenon. In some ways, it’s like the mirror in Lewis Carrol’s Through the Looking-Glass, through which the young protagonist Alice experiences a strange, new world.

Instead of walking through their new device, scientists shine a laser through it. The beam of light passes through an ultrathin sample of glass covered in nanoscale structures made of a common semiconductor material called gallium arsenide.

“It scrambles all the optical fields,” said Sandia senior scientist Igal Brener, an expert in a field called nonlinear optics who led the Sandia team. Occasionally, he said, a pair of entangled photons at different wavelengths emerge from the sample in the same direction as the incoming laser beam.

Igal said he is excited about this device because it is designed to produce complex webs of entangled photons — not just one pair at a time, but several pairs all entangled together, and some that can be indistinguishable from each other. Some technologies need these complex varieties of so-called multi-entanglement for sophisticated information processing schemes.

Other miniature technologies based on silicon photonics can also entangle photons but without the much-needed level of complex multi-entanglement. Until now the only way to produce such results was with multiple tables full of lasers and specialized crystals and other optical equipment.

“It is quite complicated and kind of intractable when this multi-entanglement needs more than two or three pairs,” Igal said. “These nonlinear metasurfaces essentially achieve this task in one sample when before it would have required incredibly complex optical setups.”

The Science paper outlines how the team successfully tuned their metasurface to produce entangled photons with varying wavelengths, a critical precursor to generating several pairs of intricately entangled photons simultaneously.

However, the researchers note in their paper that the efficiency of their device — the rate at which they can generate groups of entangled photons — is lower than that of other techniques and needs to be improved.

What is a metasurface?

A metasurface is a synthetic material that interacts with light and other electromagnetic waves in ways conventional materials can’t. Commercial industries, said Igal, are busy developing metasurfaces because they take up less space and can do more with light than, for instance, a traditional lens.

“You now can replace lenses and thick optical elements with metasurfaces,” Igal said. “Those types of metasurfaces will revolutionize consumer products.”

Sandia is one of the leading institutions in the world performing research in metasurfaces and metamaterials. Between its Microsystems Engineering, Science and Applications complex, which manufactures compound semiconductors, and the nearby Center for Integrated Nanotechnologies, researchers have access to all the specialized tools they need to design, fabricate and analyze these ambitious new materials.

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IT TAKES TWO TO ENTANGLE — In this artist rendering of a metasurface, light passes through tiny, rectangular structures — the building blocks of the metasurface — and creates pairs of entangled photons at different wavelengths. The device was designed, fabricated and tested through a partnership between Sandia and the Max Planck Institute for the Science of Light. (Image courtesy of Igal Brener)

“The work was challenging as it required precise nanofabrication technology to obtain the sharp, narrowband optical resonances that seeds the quantum process of the work,” said Sylvain Gennaro, a former postdoctoral researcher at Sandia who worked on several aspects of the project.

The device was designed, fabricated and tested through a partnership between Sandia and a research group led by physicist Maria Chekhova, an expert in the quantum entanglement of photons at the MPG Institute for the Science of Light.

“Metasurfaces are leading to a paradigm shift in quantum optics, combining ultrasmall sources of quantum light with far-reaching possibilities for quantum state engineering,” said Tomás Santiago-Cruz, a member of the MPG team and first author on the paper.

Igal, who has studied metamaterials for more than a decade, said this newest research could possibly spark a second revolution — one that sees these materials developed not just as a new kind of lens, but as a technology for quantum information processing and other new applications.

“There was one wave with metasurfaces that is already well established and on its way. Maybe there is a second wave of innovative applications coming,” he said.

Science paper:
Science

See the full article here .


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Sandia National Laboratories managed and operated by the National Technology and Engineering Solutions of Sandia (a wholly owned subsidiary of Honeywell International), is one of three National Nuclear Security Administration research and development laboratories in the United States. Their primary mission is to develop, engineer, and test the non-nuclear components of nuclear weapons and high technology. Headquartered in Central New Mexico near the Sandia Mountains, on Kirtland Air Force Base in Albuquerque, Sandia also has a campus in Livermore, California, next to DOE’s Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, and a test facility in Waimea, Kauai, Hawaii.

It is Sandia’s mission to maintain the reliability and surety of nuclear weapon systems, conduct research and development in arms control and nonproliferation technologies, and investigate methods for the disposal of the United States’ nuclear weapons program’s hazardous waste.

Other missions include research and development in energy and environmental programs, as well as the surety of critical national infrastructures. In addition, Sandia is home to a wide variety of research including computational biology; mathematics (through its Computer Science Research Institute); materials science; alternative energy; psychology; MEMS; and cognitive science initiatives.

Sandia formerly hosted ASCI Red, one of the world’s fastest supercomputers until its recent decommission, and now hosts ASCI Red Storm supercomputer, originally known as Thor’s Hammer.

Sandia is also home to the Z Machine.


The Z Machine is the largest X-ray generator in the world and is designed to test materials in conditions of extreme temperature and pressure. It is operated by Sandia National Laboratories to gather data to aid in computer modeling of nuclear guns. In December 2016, it was announced that National Technology and Engineering Solutions of Sandia, under the direction of Honeywell International, would take over the management of Sandia National Laboratories starting on May 1, 2017.


The MPG Institute for the Science of Light [MPG Institut für die Physik des Lichts] (DE) performs basic research in optical metrology, optical communication, new optical materials, plasmonics and nanophotonics and optical applications in biology and medicine. It is part of the Max Planck Society and was founded on January 1, 2009 in Erlangen near Nuremberg. The institute is based on the Max Planck Research Group “Optics, Information and Photonics”, which was founded in 2004 at the The Friedrich–Alexander University Erlangen–Nürnberg [Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg](DE), as a precursor. The institute currently comprises four divisions.

The institute currently is organized in four divisions, each led by a director with equal rights. The institute researchers are supported by several scientifically active technology development and service units. It is also the home of several MPG Research Groups that are organizationally independent of the divisions. The MPL hosts an International MPG Research School Physics of Light. Through the appointment of the directors and affiliated professors as university professors, through several affiliated groups and participation in graduate schools, a collaboration between the MPL and the University of Erlangen-Nuremberg is maintained.

The MPG Society for the Advancement of Science [MPG Gesellschaft zur Förderung der Wissenschaften e. V.] is a formally independent non-governmental and non-profit association of German research institutes founded in 1911 as the Kaiser Wilhelm Society and renamed the Max Planck Society in 1948 in honor of its former president, theoretical physicist Max Planck. The society is funded by the federal and state governments of Germany as well as other sources.

According to its primary goal, the MPG Society supports fundamental research in the natural, life and social sciences, the arts and humanities in its 83 (as of January 2014) MPG Institutes. The society has a total staff of approximately 17,000 permanent employees, including 5,470 scientists, plus around 4,600 non-tenured scientists and guests. Society budget for 2015 was about €1.7 billion.

The MPG Institutes focus on excellence in research. The MPG Society has a world-leading reputation as a science and technology research organization, with 33 Nobel Prizes awarded to their scientists, and is generally regarded as the foremost basic research organization in Europe and the world. In 2013, the Nature Publishing Index placed the MPG institutes fifth worldwide in terms of research published in Nature journals (after Harvard University, The Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Stanford University and The National Institutes of Health). In terms of total research volume (unweighted by citations or impact), the Max Planck Society is only outranked by The Chinese Academy of Sciences [中国科学院](CN), The Russian Academy of Sciences [Росси́йская акаде́мия нау́к](RU) and Harvard University. The Thomson Reuters-Science Watch website placed the MPG Society as the second leading research organization worldwide following Harvard University, in terms of the impact of the produced research over science fields.

The MPG Society and its predecessor Kaiser Wilhelm Society hosted several renowned scientists in their fields, including Otto Hahn, Werner Heisenberg, and Albert Einstein.

History

The organization was established in 1911 as the Kaiser Wilhelm Society, or Kaiser-Wilhelm-Gesellschaft (KWG), a non-governmental research organization named for the then German emperor. The KWG was one of the world’s leading research organizations; its board of directors included scientists like Walther Bothe, Peter Debye, Albert Einstein, and Fritz Haber. In 1946, Otto Hahn assumed the position of President of KWG, and in 1948, the society was renamed the Max Planck Society (MPG) after its former President (1930–37) Max Planck, who died in 1947.

The MPG Society has a world-leading reputation as a science and technology research organization. In 2006, the Times Higher Education Supplement rankings of non-university research institutions (based on international peer review by academics) placed the MPG Society as No.1 in the world for science research, and No.3 in technology research (behind AT&T Corporation and The DOE’s Argonne National Laboratory.

The domain mpg.de attracted at least 1.7 million visitors annually by 2008 according to a Compete.com study.

MPG Institutes and research groups

The MPG Society consists of over 80 research institutes. In addition, the society funds a number of Max Planck Research Groups (MPRG) and International Max Planck Research Schools (IMPRS). The purpose of establishing independent research groups at various universities is to strengthen the required networking between universities and institutes of the Max Planck Society.
The research units are primarily located across Europe with a few in South Korea and the U.S. In 2007, the Society established its first non-European centre, with an institute on the Jupiter campus of Florida Atlantic University (US) focusing on neuroscience.
The MPG Institutes operate independently from, though in close cooperation with, the universities, and focus on innovative research which does not fit into the university structure due to their interdisciplinary or transdisciplinary nature or which require resources that cannot be met by the state universities.

Internally, MPG Institutes are organized into research departments headed by directors such that each MPI has several directors, a position roughly comparable to anything from full professor to department head at a university. Other core members include Junior and Senior Research Fellows.

In addition, there are several associated institutes:

International Max Planck Research Schools

Together with the Association of Universities and other Education Institutions in Germany, the Max Planck Society established numerous International Max Planck Research Schools (IMPRS) to promote junior scientists:

• Cologne Graduate School of Ageing Research, Cologne
• International Max Planck Research School for Intelligent Systems, at the Max Planck Institute for Intelligent Systems located in Tübingen and Stuttgart
• International Max Planck Research School on Adapting Behavior in a Fundamentally Uncertain World (Uncertainty School), at the Max Planck Institutes for Economics, for Human Development, and/or Research on Collective Goods
• International Max Planck Research School for Analysis, Design and Optimization in Chemical and Biochemical Process Engineering, Magdeburg
• International Max Planck Research School for Astronomy and Cosmic Physics, Heidelberg at the MPI for Astronomy
• International Max Planck Research School for Astrophysics, Garching at the MPI for Astrophysics
• International Max Planck Research School for Complex Surfaces in Material Sciences, Berlin
• International Max Planck Research School for Computer Science, Saarbrücken
• International Max Planck Research School for Earth System Modeling, Hamburg
• International Max Planck Research School for Elementary Particle Physics, Munich, at the MPI for Physics
• International Max Planck Research School for Environmental, Cellular and Molecular Microbiology, Marburg at the Max Planck Institute for Terrestrial Microbiology
• International Max Planck Research School for Evolutionary Biology, Plön at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Biology
• International Max Planck Research School “From Molecules to Organisms”, Tübingen at the Max Planck Institute for Developmental Biology
• International Max Planck Research School for Global Biogeochemical Cycles, Jena at the Max Planck Institute for Biogeochemistry
• International Max Planck Research School on Gravitational Wave Astronomy, Hannover and Potsdam MPI for Gravitational Physics
• International Max Planck Research School for Heart and Lung Research, Bad Nauheim at the Max Planck Institute for Heart and Lung Research
• International Max Planck Research School for Infectious Diseases and Immunity, Berlin at the Max Planck Institute for Infection Biology
• International Max Planck Research School for Language Sciences, Nijmegen
• International Max Planck Research School for Neurosciences, Göttingen
• International Max Planck Research School for Cognitive and Systems Neuroscience, Tübingen
• International Max Planck Research School for Marine Microbiology (MarMic), joint program of the Max Planck Institute for Marine Microbiology in Bremen, the University of Bremen, the Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research in Bremerhaven, and the Jacobs University Bremen
• International Max Planck Research School for Maritime Affairs, Hamburg
• International Max Planck Research School for Molecular and Cellular Biology, Freiburg
• International Max Planck Research School for Molecular and Cellular Life Sciences, Munich
• International Max Planck Research School for Molecular Biology, Göttingen
• International Max Planck Research School for Molecular Cell Biology and Bioengineering, Dresden
• International Max Planck Research School Molecular Biomedicine, program combined with the ‘Graduate Programm Cell Dynamics And Disease’ at the University of Münster and the Max Planck Institute for Molecular Biomedicine
• International Max Planck Research School on Multiscale Bio-Systems, Potsdam
• International Max Planck Research School for Organismal Biology, at the University of Konstanz and the Max Planck Institute for Ornithology
• International Max Planck Research School on Reactive Structure Analysis for Chemical Reactions (IMPRS RECHARGE), Mülheim an der Ruhr, at the Max Planck Institute for Chemical Energy Conversion
• International Max Planck Research School for Science and Technology of Nano-Systems, Halle at Max Planck Institute of Microstructure Physics
• International Max Planck Research School for Solar System Science at the University of Göttingen hosted by MPI for Solar System Research
• International Max Planck Research School for Astronomy and Astrophysics, Bonn, at the MPI for Radio Astronomy (formerly the International Max Planck Research School for Radio and Infrared Astronomy)
• International Max Planck Research School for the Social and Political Constitution of the Economy, Cologne
• International Max Planck Research School for Surface and Interface Engineering in Advanced Materials, Düsseldorf at Max Planck Institute for Iron Research GmbH
• International Max Planck Research School for Ultrafast Imaging and Structural Dynamics, Hamburg

Max Planck Schools

• Max Planck School of Cognition
• Max Planck School Matter to Life
• Max Planck School of Photonics

Max Planck Center

• The Max Planck Centre for Attosecond Science (MPC-AS), POSTECH Pohang
• The Max Planck POSTECH Center for Complex Phase Materials, POSTECH Pohang

Max Planck Institutes

Among others:
• Max Planck Institute for Neurobiology of Behavior – caesar, Bonn
• Max Planck Institute for Aeronomics in Katlenburg-Lindau was renamed to Max Planck Institute for Solar System Research in 2004;
• Max Planck Institute for Biology in Tübingen was closed in 2005;
• Max Planck Institute for Cell Biology in Ladenburg b. Heidelberg was closed in 2003;
• Max Planck Institute for Economics in Jena was renamed to the Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History in 2014;
• Max Planck Institute for Ionospheric Research in Katlenburg-Lindau was renamed to Max Planck Institute for Aeronomics in 1958;
• Max Planck Institute for Metals Research, Stuttgart
• Max Planck Institute of Oceanic Biology in Wilhelmshaven was renamed to Max Planck Institute of Cell Biology in 1968 and moved to Ladenburg 1977;
• Max Planck Institute for Psychological Research in Munich merged into the Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences in 2004;
• Max Planck Institute for Protein and Leather Research in Regensburg moved to Munich 1957 and was united with the Max Planck Institute for Biochemistry in 1977;
• Max Planck Institute for Virus Research in Tübingen was renamed as Max Planck Institute for Developmental Biology in 1985;
• Max Planck Institute for the Study of the Scientific-Technical World in Starnberg (from 1970 until 1981 (closed)) directed by Carl Friedrich von Weizsäcker and Jürgen Habermas.
• Max Planck Institute for Behavioral Physiology
• Max Planck Institute of Experimental Endocrinology
• Max Planck Institute for Foreign and International Social Law
• Max Planck Institute for Physics and Astrophysics
• Max Planck Research Unit for Enzymology of Protein Folding
• Max Planck Institute for Biology of Ageing

The DOE’s Los Alamos National Laboratory mission is to solve national security challenges through scientific excellence.

LANL campus

The DOE’s Los Alamos National Laboratory, a multidisciplinary research institution engaged in strategic science on behalf of national security, is managed by Triad, a public service oriented, national security science organization equally owned by its three founding members: The University of California Texas A&M University, Battelle Memorial Institute (Battelle) for the Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration. Los Alamos enhances national security by ensuring the safety and reliability of the U.S. nuclear stockpile, developing technologies to reduce threats from weapons of mass destruction, and solving problems related to energy, environment, infrastructure, health, and global security concerns.