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Laboratori fisica quantistica
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Inaugurated two new laboratories in the field of quantum physics at the University of Trieste: the ArQuS - Artificial Quantum Systems Laboratory (VIDEO), where artificial quantum systems will be studied through the control of individual atoms, and the Quantum Communication and Information Laboratory (QCI - VIDEO), where research and technological development for new solutions in quantum communications over optical fiber and free space will be conducted.

The laboratories are located at the CNR premises in the Area Science Park, Basovizza campus, and are directed by Francesco Scazza, associate professor of material physics at the Department of Physics of UniTS, and Alessandro Zavatta, senior research scientist at the National Institute of Optics of CNR (INO-CNR).

These laboratories enrich the dedicated research facilities for the new master's curriculum in Quantum Science and Technologies, the curriculum in Material Physics, and the undergraduate Physics program. The University of Trieste boasts a recognized tradition in the field of quantum mechanics, supported by synergy with major international research institutions.

Friuli Venezia Giulia, and particularly Trieste with its university, plays a leading role in the field of quantum communications thanks to projects funded by the Region and coordinated by the University's "Quantum FVG" and "QuFree." The former aims to develop a regional fiber optic network for secure data transmission using quantum technology, with the associated QCI laboratory. The latter is an ambitious research program on quantum communication in the air and aims to pave the way for secure satellite connections.

ArQuS Laboratory - Cold atoms for quantum sciences and technologies

The ArQuS (Artificial Quantum Systems) Laboratory, the only one of its kind in Italy, is designed to create artificial quantum systems through precise control of individual ytterbium atoms. Through laser beams and magnetic fields, the atoms, identical by nature and very delicate, can be slowed in their movement and observed meticulously, offering a valuable "magnifying glass" for studying processes and phenomena otherwise inaccessible. This is made possible by state-of-the-art experimental equipment where atoms are isolated from the external environment and cooled to a temperature only a millionth of a degree above absolute zero, trapping them in literal traps based on laser light. Laser radiation, also a wave, if properly synchronized with the internal oscillation of the atom, can be used to control particles extremely precisely without destroying their quantum nature, but rather exploiting it for new technological applications.

Francesco Scazza, head of the laboratory, explains: "The quantum systems of cold atoms realized in the ArQuS laboratory can be used as prototypes for studying the interaction of a large number of quantum particles, creating so-called quantum simulators. Precise control over individual atoms can also be exploited to generate highly correlated states of matter, such as entangled states of many particles, an essential resource for future quantum computers and atomic clocks."

QCI Laboratory - Quantum networks for maximum security of information systems

The QCI laboratory serves research and technological development of new solutions for quantum communications over optical fiber and aims to train students in physics and engineering at the University of Trieste while collaborating with major research and training institutions in the field.

The field of quantum information, a new discipline born from the intersection of information science and quantum mechanics, is indeed a promising area that has seen significant progress in recent years.

Thanks to the instruments in the laboratory, which allow the generation of quantum cryptographic keys and experimentation with ultra-secure communications, researchers aim to lay the groundwork for creating true quantum networks for data manipulation and transmission capable of ensuring maximum security.

Angelo Bassi, full professor of theoretical physics, models, and mathematical methods at UniTS and coordinator of the projects that led to the creation of the laboratory, emphasizes: "While in traditional computer networks, data can be intercepted, in a quantum network, this is impossible: any intrusion would be immediately detected, a certainty guaranteed by the principles of quantum mechanics. Quantum communication systems have immense potential and strategic application scenarios in political and commercial contexts."

Alessandro Zavatta, head of the laboratory, adds: "Quantum communications represent an advanced and highly secure approach to information transmission, exploiting the peculiar characteristics of quantum physics. In our laboratory, thanks to the use of cutting-edge optical instrumentation, we control and manipulate individual photons, the building blocks of light, with extraordinary precision.

This ability to handle light at the level of single photons allows us to implement secure and inviolable communication schemes. In the QCI laboratory, we are currently developing innovative systems for the quantum distribution of cryptographic keys and for direct quantum communications, both in optical fiber and free space. It is encouraging to note that our commitment is not limited to countering current threats but extends to preventing potential risks arising from future technologies, such as the progress of quantum computers. By continuing on this path, we will contribute significantly to ensuring the security of communications even in the face of increasingly complex scenarios.

Video notizia

Presentation of the new Quantum Physics Laboratories