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Researchers have Developed a Proof-of-Concept for a Loss-Free Quantum Battery

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Posted October 29, 2019

Researchers from the University of Alberta, in collaboration with colleagues at the University of Toronto, have developed a blueprint for a loss-free excitonic quantum battery, which they claim might be closer to reality than most people assume.

The paper has already garnered attention from researchers working in the rapidly developing field of quantum technology by demonstrating the theoretical possibility of engineering a battery capable of storing energy indefinitely without any leakage.

Since the proposed battery would be excitonic in nature, charging would take place by – as the name suggests – exciting its electrons by simply exposing them to light.

“The batteries that we are more familiar with – like the lithium-ion battery that powers you smartphone – rely on classical electrochemical principles, whereas quantum batteries rely solely on quantum mechanics,” said co-author Professor Gabriel Hanna from the University of Alberta.

Unlike their regular counterparts, tiny quantum batteries – which could be made using current solid-state technologies – would be deployed to power a variety of nano-scale quantum devices, including quantum computers which researchers hope to achieve in the near-to-mid-term.

Loss-free quantum batteries could be used to power different quantum technologies – such as quantum computers – in the future.

Loss-free quantum batteries could be used to power different quantum technologies – such as quantum computers – in the future. Image: maxpixel.net, CC0 Public Domain

In the paper, the research team employed an open network model with high structural symmetry as a platform for storing excitonic energy, showing that loss-free storage is possible despite being open to an environment.

“The key is to prepare this quantum network in what is called a dark state,” explained Hanna. “While in a dark state, the network cannot exchange energy with its environment.

This means that the system becomes immune to all environmental influences, thereby attaining a high degree of robustness to energy loss.

In addition, by using the model created for the purposes of the demonstration, the researchers suggested that energy stored in the battery could be discharged on demand by breaking the structural symmetry of the network in a controlled manner.

In the future, the team plans to conduct more in-depth research into viable ways of charging and discharging the battery, as well as scaling it up for practical applications.

The paper was published in The Journal of Physical Chemistry C.

Sources: abstract of the paper, ualberta.ca

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