Our quantum computer, nuclear power and collider: what breakthroughs to expect in Russian physics

Physics of complex systems

To this area of ​​science, the Nobel Committee attributed virtually no relationship between

a study by three current laureates (on climate change and chaos behavior). Modern challenges make the physics of complex systems extremely relevant and practical.

“We are on the edge of an abyss,” said recentlyUN Secretary General António Guterres. - The average temperature has already risen 1.2 ° C above that of the pre-industrial era. This is very close to the critical reading of 1.5 ° C. This year will be decisive. If we fail [in climate control and the transition to green technologies], we will be in great danger. "

In the near future, we can expect an increase in volumesresearch work in the field of physics of complex systems and physics of climate. The main discoveries in this area were made decades ago. For example, in the 60s, Shukuro Manabe created a toolkit for modeling the climate system, ten years later, Klaus Hasselman linked weather and climate. The award could be shared with them by the Soviet physicist Andrei Monin, one of the founders of geophysical hydrodynamics, which created the basis for research around the world.

Now in Russia there are few scientists whoare engaged in modeling complex systems in terms of climate and at the same time gaining international recognition. For example, the work of Evgeny Volodin from the Institute of Computational Mathematics. Marchuk RAS became part of the larger IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) model several years ago. In the scientific community, there is an opinion that now Russian research lags far behind Western studies, and there are simply no specialists at the level of Nobel laureates in the country. The reasons are underfunding and a decline in expertise.

There is no separate global institution in Russia,who deals with the physics of complex systems. But there are regional initiatives - for example, the educational and scientific center "Physics of Complex Systems", opened in 2009 in Kazan. The master's program is implemented according to the principle of exchange of experience with the Institute for Problems of Mechanics and Modern Materials Science ISMANS (France).

Climate models are just one of thepractical spheres, which is reaping the fruits of discoveries in the field of physics of complex systems. Thus, the third Nobel Prize winner Giorgio Parisi received an award for the discovery of mathematical patterns that arise in complex (chaotic) materials, which allowed scientists to describe many different phenomena - not only in physics, but also in mathematics, biology, neuroscience, and machine learning. In addition, his work was very helpful in creating a quantum computer.

The quantum physics

A quantum computer is one of the most powerfulapplied achievements. According to the most optimistic estimates, they will appear in Russia in a few years, and so far there are only prototypes of different types of quantum processors. These include the first unique five-qubit scheme for quantum computing, created at the Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology.

A 20-ion platform also appeared in 2021,an alternative approach to creating a quantum computer, "National Quantum Laboratory". For Russia, both events are a big breakthrough, but nevertheless, this is a significant lag in the world, where there is already a full-fledged quantum computer with 27 qubits and a 5000-qubit D-Wave machine for limited computing is working.

“According to Gartner forecasts, quanta will become a realityfor the majority already in 2023, and not in 20 years, as previously thought, - notes Elena Zislin, vice president of JPMorgan Chase’s Technology Business Development. - In two years, 20% of companies in the world will already have projects in the field of quantum computing. For comparison - today it is only 1% ".

Experiments to build quantum computers inRussia is demanding a lot of money. But certain areas of research are often carried out by several institutes. As part of international teams, Russian scientists have had a hand in several important discoveries. For example, a Skoltech research group with IBM invented quantum switches, a technology that multiplies the energy consumption of a quantum computer. In theory, this will allow avoiding the use of expensive cooling systems, which greatly complicate the operation of the device.

Another one has about the same practical meaning.discoveries - employees of the Russian Quantum Center with colleagues from Moscow State University and Kazan Federal University. For the first time in history, they obtained quantum phenomena of superconductivity and superfluidity at room temperature. This has been the dream of researchers around the world for decades.

There are also many discoveries made inthe compositions of international groups. For example, scientists from the Institute of Solid State Physics. Osipyan and Skoltech, together with colleagues from Princeton (USA) and the Walter Schottky Institute (Germany), proposed an original method for detecting complex quantum states - Majorana modes. Scientists have been trying to detect these particles for a long time, but it is extremely difficult: they have no charge and no spin. The potential benefit of the discovery lies in the use of unique properties when creating a quantum computer of a new generation (the computation speed is higher, the effect of environmental interference is less).

A strong scientific school develops where there iscontinuity. In October 2021, a research unit appeared at MIPT, where Andrei Geim, a famous physicist and graduate of MIPT, who received the Nobel Prize for the discovery of graphene together with Konstantin Novoselov, will be its scientific supervisor. The laboratory will deal with mesophysics - or the manifestation of quantum mechanical phenomena on a macroscopic scale. Discoveries in this area can be of great practical importance for the development of microelectronics.

Physics of materials

Involvement in Russian scientific projectsNobel laureates is an important strategic step towards creating a center of attraction for young scientists, where the intellectual potential of the country would be concentrated. This is what MIPT is doing now. One of the most cited physicists of our time, professor at the University of Manchester, nobelist Konstantin Novoselov headed the department of Phystech, focused on experiments with two-dimensional smart materials. This is a very promising area with great potential effect for microelectronics and technology. It is expected that such materials can be used as the basis for neuromorphic computers.

Also engaged in nanomaterials in RussiaKurchatov Institute. Recently physicists have synthesized a fundamentally new class of thin matter - submonolayer magnetic films. They are one atom thick, but they are highly discharged. These are the thinnest artificial magnets ever created in a laboratory. This discovery may be associated with an impetus in the development of spintronics (a system that uses spin as a carrier of information in quantum computing). In the process of research work, physicists of the Kurchatov Institute collaborated with the European Center for Synchrotron Research, where there is a unique accelerator facility that makes it possible to study the properties of nanomaterial. This brings us very close to talking about the state of accelerator physics in Russia.

Nuclear and accelerator physics

At the beginning of 2021, Russia launched twomega-installations: the world's most powerful high-flux research neutron reactor PIK and the T-15MD thermonuclear reactor (also known as Tokamak). With its help, Russian scientists want to make discoveries that will make it possible to create technologies for two-component nuclear power. At the Kurchatov Institute, they are also called "nature-like", that is, closed on themselves and naturally built into the resource circulation of the environment.

Also, scientists from the Kurchatov Institute are working oncreation of low-power nuclear power plants based on thermoelectric materials, which practically do not need to be serviced. The prototype of the facility, which can be called a compact atomic battery, has been in operation for several decades. Perhaps it is Russian physicists who are paving the way for the creation of technologies that can ensure human life on other planets.

Despite the presence of several installations in the countryworld-class, new accelerators and reactors are built less frequently than the Soviet legacy fails. This is a serious problem - after all, most of the discoveries in particle physics and nuclear physics occur during experiments on such facilities.

“Over the past 30 years, there has been a trend towardsreduction in the share of work performed in research centers of the Russian Federation. This is due to the lack of a modern experimental base in the country. Against the background of the general, I would say, depressive state of fundamental science in the country, the creation of large scientific accelerator installations has slowed down. This has led to the fact that there has been a significant lag in the development of domestic accelerator technologies in a number of important areas, such as nuclear medicine, materials science, semiconductor industry, which now depend on foreign suppliers, "Academician Boris Sharkov said at a recent meeting of the Russian Academy of Sciences.

The positive side of the situation is that the levelthe experimental base can be raised, and in the coming years. In 2022, the NICA collider will be completed and launched in Dubna. The National Center for Physics and Mathematics is being set up in Sarov, where another collider, the Super c-tau Factory, will appear. Perhaps, it is with its help that Russian scientists study processes and phenomena that go beyond the "standard model". But they can get ahead of them: in the world, experiments are carried out every day at accelerator installations, and scientists are very close to discoveries that will lay the foundation for the "new physics".

In the meantime, Russian theoretical physicists have toliterally persuading CERN to conduct experiments. To do this, you need to convince them of the potential usefulness of the discovery. Now this is achieved by Dmitry Karlovets, who mathematically proved the preservation of the unusual state of "twisting" and the properties of the wave in particles at high speeds. Previously, researchers only studied these quantum properties at moderate energies. Whether there is any practical benefit here is a big question, but not all breakthrough experiments in the history of physics set it as their goal. Cognition has always been the main thing.

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