Research Fellows Directory
Dr Sean Barrett
Imperial College London
Understanding the properties of complex quantum systems is of enormous importance, both for basic science, and from the point of view of technological applications. A complex quantum system is one that is made up of many atoms or other elementary particles, all of which interact with each other.
Examples where understanding of such systems has had, or may prove to have, a profound effect on our lives are manifold, but include biochemistry, photovoltaic solar cells, superconductivity (the understanding of which has allowed us to design sensitive medical imaging technology), magnets (where the giant magnetoresistive effect has lead to a colossal increase in hard disk storage capacity, enabling, amongst other things, the iPod and Google), and quantum computers. Such systems are also interesting to scientists since they typically reveal "new physics," that is, exotic phenomena that cannot be understood by considering the constituent parts of the system independently.
My recent work has addressed an important step towards our understanding of complex quantum systems. I have proposed a completely new scheme for performing simulations of a particular type of complex quantum system (known as "quantum field theories") using technology that is widely available in many research labs today.
These recent breakthroughs should bring quantum computers much closer to realization.
Interests and expertise (Subject groups)