Quantum computers offer the potential to solve computational problems that are beyond the reach of classical computers. As an example, the Canadian company Xanadu recently claimed that its quantum computer has been able to solve, in just 36 microseconds, a computational task that would have required 9,000 years using state-of-the-art supercomputers.
However, quantum technologies need energy to operate. This simple consideration has led researchers to develop the idea of quantum batteries, which are quantum mechanical systems used as energy storage devices. Recently, researchers at the Center for Theoretical Physics of Complex Systems (PCS) within the Institute for Basic Science (IBS), South Korea have been able to put tight constraints on the possible charging performance of a quantum battery.
Specifically, they showed that a collection of quantum batteries can lead to an enormous improvement in charging speed compared to a classical charging protocol. This is thanks to quantum effects, which allow the cells in quantum batteries to be charged simultaneously.
Despite these theoretical achievements, the experimental realizations of quantum batteries are still scarce. The only recent notable counter-example used a collection of two-level systems (very similar to the qubits just introduced) for energy storage purposes, with the energy being provided by an electromagnetic field (a laser).
Given the current situation, it is clearly of uttermost importance to find new and more accessible quantum platforms which can be used as quantum batteries. With this motivation in mind, researchers from the same IBS PCS team, working in collaboration with Giuliano Benenti (University of Insubria, Italy), recently decided to revisit a quantum mechanical system that has been studied heavily in the past: the micromaser.
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