A universal quantum simulator would be something quite useful to have, as it allows to simulate the behavior of any quantum-mechanical system efficiently. We have been able to show that one can build such a device with strongly interacting Rydberg atoms, as reported in our paper having just appeared in Nature physics.
The nice thing about highly excited Rydberg atoms is that they interact very strongly, and it is possible to switch these interactions on and off in a controlled way by applying laser pulses. By choosing the atoms where you shine laser light on you can precisely tune the properties of the quantum simulator. Furthermore, the technique can also be used for a novel cooling technique, allowing to create exotic quantum phases such as a spin liquid.
To add even more advertizing, the numerical simulations for the paper were done with libquantum, your author's favorite library for performing quantum simulations.
Copyright 2006--2011 Hendrik Weimer. This document is available under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License. See the licensing terms for further details.