(ScienceDaily) Harnessing quantum physics, the particles and energy down at atomic scales, could lead to better computing, sensing, communicating and data storing technologies. Researchers such as Jijang Wang, a professor of physics and astronomy at Iowa State University and a physicist at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Ames Laboratory, need to provide more answers about the quantum world.
In Wang’s case, many of those answers are coming from quantum terahertz spectroscopy that can visualize and steer electrons. A three-year, $465,000 grant from the U.S. Army Research Office has supported the spectroscopy studies by Wang and his research group.
Wang and his team have announced three discoveries based on those studies:
The first describes how ultrafast pulses of photons — laser flashes at trillions of cycles per second — can switch on a state of matter hidden by superconductivity, the flow of electricity without resistance, usually at super-cold temperatures.
The second describes how the terahertz instrumentation can trace electron pairings in materials, revealing a new, light-induced, long-lived state of matter.
The third describes how the ultrafast flashes of light Wang and his collaborators work with can be used like a knob to control and accelerate supercurrents. The flashes break equilibrium symmetry, thus triggering forbidden quantum oscillations that can’t be achieved by any known means.