Quantum simulators unlock path to experimental study and manipulation of chiral spin liquids with non-Abelian anyons

Chiral spin liquids are an incredibly captivating form of matter that has captivated the minds of physicists. These extraordinary liquids are characterized by peculiar quasi-particles called non-Abelian anyons, which defy the classification of traditional bosons or fermions. Manipulating these anyons could potentially lead to the development of a universal quantum computer. Despite the immense efforts of condensed matter physicists, the quest to discover such a phase in the natural world remains a challenging and ongoing pursuit at the forefront of modern research.

From a theoretical standpoint, chiral spin liquids originate from a relatively straightforward model envisioned by Kitaev in 2006. This model provides researchers with analytical tools to explore the unique properties of these liquids. Interestingly, recent advancements in quantum simulators offer a promising pathway for the experimental realization of the original Kitaev model. This suggests that chiral spin liquids, along with their extraordinary quasi-particles, can be studied and controlled within a highly precise experimental environment.

In a recent publication in PRX Quantum, scientists BoYe Sun and Nathan Goldman from ULB, Brussels, Monika Aidelsburger from LMU, Munich, and Marin Bukov from MPI-PKS Dresden and Sofia University propose a practical implementation of the Kitaev model in quantum simulators.

Through a carefully designed pulse sequence, their system demonstrates the presence of a chiral spin liquid with non-Abelian anyons. The authors outline practical methods to investigate the remarkable properties of these exotic states. Specifically, their techniques provide unambiguous insights into the topological heat current that flows along the system’s edge—an unmistakable signature of the non-Abelian anyons emerging in chiral spin liquids.

This groundbreaking work lays the foundation for quantum simulations of chiral spin liquids, presenting an attractive alternative for studying and exploring these fascinating states of matter, distinct from traditional experimental investigations of quantum materials.

Source: Université libre de Bruxelles

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