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Quantum Particulars Guest Column Bonus Article: “Teaching the Quantum Atomic Industry Story with desqtopMOT”

Brian Siegelwax discusses the educational value of desqtopMOT from Infleqtion.
By Guest Author posted 30 Jan 2024

“Quantum Particulars” is an editorial guest column featuring exclusive insights and interviews with quantum researchers, developers, and experts looking at key challenges and processes in this field. This bonus article was written by Brian Siegelwax, focusing on Infleqtion’s desqtopMOT, part of Oqtant platform for educators.

In December 2023, Infleqtion launched its Oqtant quantum matter service. Now, in January 2024, Infleqtion is launching desqtopMOT, its benchtop cold atom platform. As an educator, both of these products are meant to help you educate and empower your students. So, a logical question is, which one should you choose for your classroom?

The short answer is that they are complementary. In fact, they can be thought of as two parts of one story.

Part 1: Getting Hands-On with desqtopMOT

desqtopMOT is a hands-on physical hardware system with a software element that allows students to learn the key tools of the quantum atomic industry within a teaching laboratory setting. It is a platform for teaching quantum mechanics through light-matter interactions. Your students will learn the theoretical background from the curriculum and then use desqtopMOT to experiment on atoms. They will use it to control the creation of atomic samples and develop and test hypotheses.

desqtopMOT includes:

  • A vacuum system
  • A Rubidium atom source
  • Beam delivery optics and breadboard
  • A stabilized laser system
  • A reference spectroscopy cell
  • A comprehensive multi-chapter curriculum with two levels of learning, base and advanced
  • A Python interface with real-time control (advanced model)

The experiments have applicability to atom-based timekeeping, quantum sensing, and quantum computing, so you’ll be upskilling and improving the employability of your students.

In a non-exhaustive list, the curriculum includes lessons in:
• cold atom physics
• imaging
• lasers
• laser cooling and trapping
• optics and photonics
• quantum measurements
• spectroscopy
• vacuum engineering and science

A photo of an Rb MOT cloud (pale pink dot) inside a cell. Image courtesy of Allie Weary, Hannes Bernien Lab at the University of Chicago courtesy of Infleqtion.

A photo of an Rb MOT cloud (pale pink dot) inside a cell. Image courtesy of Allie Weary, Hannes Bernien Lab at the University of Chicago courtesy of Infleqtion.

desqtopMOT empowers you to give your students a truly immersive learning experience. Monitors can be set up so that students can get a better view, but they can also take turns observing the hardware directly. If you turn off the lights in your classroom, thanks to the fluorescence emitted by the atoms from laser excitation, your students can “see” the Rubidium cloud in the trap. The experiments will literally run right in front of their eyes.

Part 2: Making Quantum Matter with Oqtant

As a quantum matter service – in fact, the world’s only quantum matter service – Oqtant is accessible via the cloud; all your students need is Internet access. It is fully accessible via smartphones, so your students don’t necessarily need to have laptops to use it.

Oqtant gives your students already-cooled atoms, abstracting away desqtopMOT and allowing them to deep dive the quantum behavior of ultracold systems. Using either a no-code portal or a Python API called Oqtant API or OqtAPI (pronounced “octopi”), your students will be able to:

  • Control the creation of quantum matter
  • Explore interference, coherence, tunneling, atomtronics, nonlinear behavior, superposition, superfluidity, and more
  • Observe phase transitions and evolution
  • Develop and test hypotheses

Oqtant Quantum Matter Service - Learn More — InfleqtionA brief aside for readers unfamiliar with quantum matter:

With magnets, an ensemble of laser-cooled atoms is suspended within an ultrahigh vacuum chamber. The cooling technique won a Nobel Prize. As the atoms cool, a fraction of them condenses and begins to occupy the same quantum state. This quantum matter, called a Bose-Einstein condensate (BEC), can be thought of as a giant atom or superatom. It is macroscopic in size, it is represented by a single wavefunction, and it behaves as one entity. BEC is the 5th state of matter, alongside solid, liquid, gas, and plasma.

Depending on your time zone, Oqtant has the possibility of running in real time. If it is online and there are no jobs in the queue, your students’ first job should execute in about a minute. If it is offline, your students can queue up jobs anytime, and they’ll run sequentially when Oqtant comes back online. According to its FAQ, the schedule is:

Oqtant is online every other week, excluding US holidays and planned maintenance outages. The schedule for online weeks is Monday-Thursday, 10AM-3PM MT (UTC-7), Exceptions to the schedule will be announced as soon as possible.

Oqtant has:

  • a Web App Guide
  • an Oqtant FAQ
  • an interactive tour
  • Python API resources
  • a 55-minute video
  • a 5-minute video
  • an 87-page paper
  • technical notes on RF evaporation, quantum matter, and imaging

Your students can submit up to 10 jobs per day absolutely for free. Premium jobs can be purchased, boosting this quota up to 100 jobs per day. These premium jobs have priority in the system and run before any free jobs in the queue. You can set up a team, which will allow your students to share your premium quotas.

Conclusion: Using desqtopMOT for Students

If you happen to be attending SPIE Photonics West, they’ll be making cold atoms with desqtopMOT at Booth 7207 all day on Tuesday and Wednesday. Long-form product demonstrations of the chapters and an experiment from Chapter 6 are happening at 2PM on both days. The team is brainstorming ways to shield it from the lighting so that you’ll be able to “see” the Rubidium cloud with your own eyes, unaided by magnification of any kind.

You can explore Oqtant right now.

If used together, your students will know the full quantum atomic industry story.

Brian N. Siegelwax is an independent Quantum Algorithm Designer. He is known for his contributions to the field of quantum computing, particularly in the design of quantum algorithms. He has evaluated numerous quantum computing frameworks, platforms, and utilities and has shared his insights and findings through his writings. Siegelwax is also an author and has written books such as “Dungeons & Qubits” and “Choose Your Own Quantum Adventure”. He regularly writes on Medium about various topics related to quantum computing. His work includes practical applications of quantum computing, reviews of quantum computing products, and discussions on quantum computing concepts.

Categories: Guest article, quantum computing, research, software

Tags: Brian Siegelwax, Infleqtion, Oqtant

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