This week’s blog sees another stunning front page visualisation. Nature’s Art Director Kelly Krause talks us through the inspired thought processes behind it.
A representation of the individual quantum trajectories that connect two points in quantum state space. Classical systems are unmoved when a measurement is performed. Not so quantum systems, where continuous monitoring can direct the quantum state along a random path. Steve Weber et al. have tracked the quantum trajectories in a qubit, consisting of two aluminium paddles connected by a tunable Josephson junction deposited on silicon. The authors manage to determine which of the possible paths between an initial and a final quantum state is the most probable and show that these ‘optimal paths’ are in agreement with the route predicted by theory, a quantum relative of the principle of least action that defines the correct path linking two points in space and time in classical mechanics. As well as giving insights into the interplay between measurement dynamics and evolution of a system, this work opens up new possibilities for first-principles synthesis of control sequences for complex quantum systems and in information processing. (Cover: Kater Murch)
From the Art Desk:
Art Director, Kelly Krause, explains:
“This striking visualisation was created by Kater Murch, one of the authors of the paper. It shows individual quantum trajectories, with the whole showing ‘optimal paths.’ The starkness of the many white trajectory lines on a black background immediately drew our attention, and we asked the team to work with us on a cover. Specifically, we asked Murch if he wouldn’t mind experimenting with various colour patterns, to see how it might affect the ability to see the optimal paths (below) but in the end we decided that the random colours actually made it more difficult to see the overall result, and stayed with the original black and white.”
For additional behind the scenes commentary each week, check out the Nature Art Team’s Nature Graphics Tumblr and the previous Under the Covers on whether rising heterozygosity can help fur seals adapt to climate change.