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HKU Physicists Develop Algorithm Solving Long Standing Problem in Quantum Material Models

By IQT News posted 30 Apr 2021

(HPCWire) Postdoctoral Fellow Dr Zheng YAN and Associate Professor Dr Zi Yang MENG, from the Research Division for Physics and Astronomy of the Faculty of Science at the University of Hong Kong (HKU), have invented a new algorithm that could solve a large class of important constrained quantum material models, via powerful supercomputer combined with theoretical analysis. They also teamed up with Dr Yancheng WANG from China University of Mining and Technology, Dr Nvsen MA from Beihang University, and Professor Yang QI from Fudan University to employ the algorithm and untangle a long-standing puzzle of a typical constrained quantum materials model, ‘quantum dimer model’.
Dr Meng remarked: “The new algorithm for constrained quantum models and their solutions of topological excitations will eventually bring benefits to society, such that these visons are the information carrier for quantum computation and quantum computers. Our algorithm enables us to directly access numerical results with key theoretical predictions quantitatively, which is not possible before. Such efforts will certainly lead to more profound and impactful discoveries in quantum materials.”
The intrinsic scale limit of current quantum material hinders possible development of technology, thus the discovery of a new generation of quantum materials holds the key to technological revolutions, such as stable topological quantum computers, high-temperature superconductors, high capacity information and energy storage. Nevertheless, due to their nature of strongly correlated electrons, it is not uncommon for the next generation of quantum materials to have extremely complex interactions with the environment, making it difficult to study their properties and to make use of them.
Many modern technologies are based on the quantum nature of materials, such as silicon-based computers, solar cells or lithium-ion batteries. These current generation quantum materials all belong to the category of weakly-correlated systems, where the interactions between electronic degrees of freedom are not dominant and are not sensitive to their environment, hence, they are reasonably easier for scientists to study their properties. On the other hand, the next generation quantum materials based on strong correlations between electrons (they are also denoted as quantum many-body systems) are becoming more crucial for the development of modern technologies as well as for addressing the major challenges in our society.

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