Research News

Design of a fully connected quantum optimizer

A team of theoretical physicists at the University of Basel in Switzerland, has found a way to design a fully connected quantum optimizer -- a machine that holds the promise to speed up the solution of hard optimization problems -- by taking advantage of a fundamental property of the superconducting state of matter. In a further vital step towards building a quantum optimizer able to solve real world problems, they also show that this new architecture is more robust to noise than existing alternatives. Their work has been published in Science Advances.

Read more

Rare Earths Become Water-repellent Only as They Age

Surfaces that have been coated with rare earth oxides develop water-repelling properties only after contact with air. Even at room temperature, chemical reactions begin with hydrocarbons in the air. In the journal Scientific Reports, researchers from the University of Basel, the Swiss Nanoscience Institute and the Paul Scherrer Institute report that it is these reactions that are responsible for the hydrophobic effect.

Read more

Gravitational wave factories in the early universe

Researchers from the Particles & Cosmology group at the Department of Physics have found that in the early universe after inflation, so-called oscillons can act as "gravitational wave factories" and produce much more gravitational waves than previously thought. Oscillons are localized and strong scalar field fluctuations that are comparatively long-lived. Numerical simulations showed that the produced gravitational waves have a specific frequency, related to the underlying theory of the early universe, and manifest themselves as a pronounced peak in the otherwise rather broad spectrum of gravitational waves from early universe dynamics. If this peak is in the right frequency range, the effects from the oscillons can be observed by the running or planned gravitational wave detectors, e.g. by the aLIGO-AdVirgo detector network. The detection of such a gravitational wave signal would provide a fascinating window into the physics of the early universe. The results are published in Physical Review Letters

Read more

Tunable source of single photons from a cold atomic ensemble

The Sangouard group works actively on the development of quantum networks — networks where the nodes are made with atoms that are connected by means of single photons.

Read more

Nanowires as Sensors in New Type of Atomic Force Microscope

A new type of atomic force microscope (AFM) uses nanowires as tiny sensors. Unlike standard AFM, the device with a nanowire sensor enables measurements of both the size and direction of forces. Physicists at the University of Basel and at the EPF Lausanne have described these results in the recent issue of Nature Nanotechnology.

Read more