A Chinese-Swiss quantum steam engine

October 20, 2017

On Monday last week, we had a new paper out on the arXiv: https://arxiv.org/abs/1710.02621

In it, we consider a quantum thermal machine for generating entanglement. Entanglement is a form of quantum correlations which are essential in quantum information protocols. It can be used for ultra-precise measurements, for example of magnetic fields, and for quantum computing, among many other applications. The machine uses only differences in temperatures and interactions that do not require any active control, and so entanglement can be obtained just by turning on the machine and waiting, which is neat.

What I find particularly nice is that the paper is a good example of scientific collaboration across the globe. The new scheme improves upon a design for thermal entanglement generation which we developed with colleagues here in Geneva and in Barcelona. I wrote about that work here (have a look for a summary of what makes thermal entanglement generation exciting). Recently, colleagues in Qufu, China, who had been working on similar setups, realised that the entanglement generation could be improved by including an additional thermal bath. Zhong-Xiao Man then contacted me, and with Armin Tavakoli we confirmed their results and thought about how the new scheme could be realised in practice. After just a few emails back and forth, the paper came together. The bulk of the work was done by Zhong-Xiao and his colleagues, but Armin and I also made a significant contribution, and in the end, I think the paper is much better than what any of us might have done alone.

So thanks to Zhong-Xiao for bringing on us on board. And I am happy to do research in the age of the internet, which has made these kind of interaction much much easier, faster, and likelier to happen :).

Published paper: https://iopscience.iop.org/article/10.1088/1402-4896/ab0c51