Physics Colloquium: Quantum simulation with nuclear spins

Chandrasekhar Ramanathan (Dartmouth College)

November 25, 2013

"Quantum simulation with nuclear spins"

It has been three decades since Feynman showed that a quantum computer is required to efficiently simulate a quantum system.  While building a quantum computer remains a grand challenge, our improved ability to manipulate and control quantum systems has led to a resurgence of interest in quantum simulations that could help tackle problems in diverse areas such as condensed-matter physics, cosmology and quantum chemistry.    In this talk I will discuss how to build quantum simulators using nuclear magnetic resonance (or NMR) techniques.  While we can perform any small-scale simulation using liquid state NMR, the highly-coupled spin networks in solids allow us to perform a more limited set of large-scale analog quantum simulations.  These solid state spin systems are excellent platforms on which to study the coherent dynamics of large quantum systems.   I will illustrate these ideas with experimental examples, and discuss the key challenges to developing large scale, general purpose quantum simulators.