Friday, March 24, 2006

Graphene, quasiparticles, anyons and quantum braids

Two days ago, I read a popular news report on graphene, a form of carbon with novel properties. In particular it appears to allow one to experiment with quasiparticles, a family which includes not only our familiar bosons and fermions but also, perhaps, anyons. In the article electrons were said to move within the two dimensional graphene surface at relativistic speeds. Here's an article, but it's not what I read.

Yesterday I read an article in Scientific American on topological quantum computing using "braids" to perform error-resistant qubit processing. It's only theoretical, for it to work one needs a good source of anyons. The Sci Am article was written months ago of course. The same issue included a book review pointing in which a physicist saw no challenges to the Standard Model of physics since there are no meaningful places where both quantum and relativistic effects are simultaneously important.

Hmm. Graphene and anyons. - 49 googlits today. Add topological, get 31 hits. Add braid and ... Google stops working. That's funny!

Update: Google finally returned! There were 3 hits when I added braid, including this conference. By the way, most of the physicists mentioned in the SciAm article on using topological methods (braids) to enable error-resistant quantum computing work for Microsofts Project Q. There are surprisingly few googlits on Project Q, apparently it came up during a site visit for one blogger. It's nice to know Microsoft is putting its monopoly rents to interesting uses.

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