PerspectivePhysics

How to Manipulate Cold Atoms

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Science  11 Jul 2003:
Vol. 301, Issue 5630, pp. 176-177
DOI: 10.1126/science.1085130

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Summary

Since Bose-Einstein condensates were first realized in 1995, experimentalists have focused on characterizing and manipulating these weakly interacting systems. In their Perspective, Cirac and Zoller look ahead toward the next challenge for atomic physics: strongly interacting atomic systems that may be of use in quantum computing and may clarify fundamental properties of quantum mechanics. They explain how optical lattices can be used to tune the interactions between cold atoms and how a quantum simulator may be constructed. The latter may enable the first quantum computers that can outperform ordinary computers for nontrivial problems.