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Strange warping geometry helps to push scientific boundaries




If you may know the interactions of atoms in everyday solids and liquids are extremely complex. These are so complex that some of these materials’ properties continue to elude physicists’ understanding. Solving the problems with the help of maths is actually beyond the ability of modern day computers. Therefore, scientists at Princeton University have turned to an unusual branch of geometry instead.

Professor of electrical engineering, Andrew Houck led the researchers, to build an electronic array on a microchip that is known to stimulate particle interactions in a hyperbolic plane, a geometric surface in which space curves away from itself at every point. It is very much difficult to envision the hyperbolic plane. Artist M.C. Escher made use of hyperbolic geometry in many of his mind-boggling pieces. He is perfect for answering questions about the interactions of particles and other challenging mathematical questions.

The research team made use of superconducting circuits in order to create a lattice that can function as hyperbolic space. When the researchers introduced photons into the lattice, they can answer a wide range of difficult questions by just observing the interactions of the photons in simulated hyperbolic space.

Houck, who was the senior author of the paper published July 4 in the journal Nature said:

“You can throw particles together, turn on a very controlled amount of interaction between them, and see the complexity emerge.”

Alicia Kollar who is a postdoctoral research associate at the Princeton Centre for complex materials and also the lead author of the study said:

“the goal is to allow researchers to address complex questions about quantum interactions, which govern the behavior of atomic and subatomic particles.”

Kollar also added:

 “The problem is that if you want to study a very complicated quantum mechanical material, then that computer modeling is very difficult. We’re trying to implement a model at the hardware level so that nature does the hard part of the computation for you.”

The centimeter-sized chip is etched with a circuit of superconducting resonators that are known to provide paths for microwave photons to move and interact.

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