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How the Alba Synchrotron aids quantum information

Research into materials and surfaces

Courses and workshops


This session presents the lines of research of the Alba Synchrotron that use quantum principles and two experiments being carried out there as an example of the possibilities in this field.

The photoelectric effect, electron spin and magnetism in the Alba Synchrotron

At the Alba synchrotron, quantum mechanics is the order of the day. From the moment synchrotron light is produced until it is used in experiments. Synchrotron light comprises photons of different energies; when a photon with spin and an electron meet, the interaction differs according to whether they spin the same or opposite ways. This difference is used to understand how magnetic materials are comprised and work, an active research area at Alba, where quantum phenomena are key to understanding the results of the experiments.

With Salvador Ferrer, Associate Scientific Advisor at the Alba Synchrotron.


How quantum mechanics describes reality: electrons and photons

How does an electron move in a solid? How does a wave or a particle move? Today, the theory of quantum mechanics describes nature at atomic and sub-atomic scales with an extraordinary degree of perfection. We’ll see how this knowledge can be obtained when we get photons to interact with the electrons of a material in the spectrum of synchrotron radiation X-rays. This journey will help us to understand how quantum mechanics describes the physical reality of the world and how this knowledge can be used for practical applications.

With Gervasi Herranz, researcher at the Barcelona Institute of Materials Science ICMAB-CSIC, UAB Campus.


H2O: a discrete molecule

We marvel at the fascinating spectacle of nature, involving the participation of a multitude of objects with different structures, forms, movements and colours, which we register with our macroscopic view of the world. But all of these properties derive from the microscopic world, invisible to our eyes, which is described by quantum mechanics. One example is ice with its familiar hexagonal symmetry. This molecular structure also explains some of the properties of water, such as its high boiling point or the surprising surface tension of its liquid state. At the Alba synchrotron we study the electronic structure of water and we’ll be offering a short, easy-to-understand analysis. But water still has many mysteries that quantum theory will help us to solve.

With Jordi Fraxedas, researcher at the Catalan Institute of Nanoscience and Nanotechnology (ICN2), CSIC and BIST, Campus UAB, Bellaterra.

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