The MIT quantum sensor can detect electromagnetic signals at any frequency


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Scientists on the Massachusetts Institute of Know-how have developed a strategy to allow quantum sensors to detect any random frequency, with out dropping their capability to measure nanometer-scale options.

The new method is described in a paper published in the journal Physical Review X by graduate student Guoqing Wang, professor of nuclear science and engineering and of physics Paola Cappellaro, and four others at MIT and Lincoln Laboratory. The team has already applied for patent protection for the new method.

Although quantum sensors can take many forms, at their essence they’re systems in which some particles are in such a delicately balanced state that they are affected by even tiny variations in the fields they are exposed to. These can take the form of neutral atoms, trapped ions, and solid-state spins, and research using such sensors has grown rapidly. For example, physicists use them to investigate exotic states of matter, including so-called time crystals and topological phases, while other scientists use them to characterize practical devices such as experimental quantum memory or computation devices. However, many other phenomena of interest span a much broader frequency range than today’s quantum sensors can detect.

Quantum Sensor Can Detect Electromagnetic Signals of Any Frequency

MIT researchers have developed a method to enable quantum sensors to detect any arbitrary frequency, with no loss of their ability to measure nanometer-scale features. Quantum sensors detect the most minute variations in magnetic or electrical fields, but until now they have only been capable of detecting a few specific frequencies, limiting their usefulness. Credit: Guoqing Wang

The new system the team devised, which they call a quantum mixer, injects a second frequency into the detector using a beam of microwaves. This converts the frequency of the field being studied into a different frequency — the difference between the original frequency and that of the added signal — which is tuned to the specific frequency that the detector is most sensitive to. This simple process enables the detector to home in on any desired frequency at all, with no loss in the nanoscale spatial resolution of the sensor.

In their experiments, the team used a specific device based on an array of nitrogen-vacancy centers in diamond, a widely used quantum sensing system, and successfully demonstrated the detection of a signal with a frequency of 150 megahertz, using a qubit detector with a frequency of 2.2 gigahertz — a detection that would be impossible without the quantum multiplexer. They then did detailed analyses of the process by deriving a theoretical framework, based on Floquet theory, and testing the numerical predictions of that theory in a series of experiments.

While their tests used this specific system, Wang says, “the same principle can be also applied to any kind of sensors or quantum devices.” The system would be self-contained, with the detector and the source of the second frequency all packaged in a single device.

Wang says that this system could be used, for example, to characterize in detail the performance of a microwave antenna. “It can characterize the distribution of the field [generated by the antenna] With nanoscale accuracy, so it’s totally promising in that route.”

There are different methods to vary the frequency sensitivity of some quantum sensors, however they require using massive units and robust magnetic fields that blur wonderful particulars and make it inconceivable to realize the very excessive accuracy supplied by the brand new system. In such methods at this time, Wang says, “it is advisable to use a robust magnetic subject to tune the sensor, however this magnetic subject can break the properties of quantum supplies, which may have an effect on the phenomena you need to measure.”

The system might open up new functions in biomedical fields, in keeping with Capellaro, as a result of it may give entry to a variety of frequencies {of electrical} or magnetic exercise on the stage of a single cell. It might be very tough to acquire helpful accuracy for such alerts utilizing present quantum sensing methods, she says. It might be potential to make use of this technique to detect the output alerts from a single neuron in response to some stimulus, for instance, which generally embrace a considerable amount of noise, making these alerts tough to isolate.

The system can be used to explain intimately the conduct of unique supplies resembling 2D supplies which might be extensively studied for his or her electromagnetic, optical and bodily properties.

Within the work in progress, the crew is exploring the potential for discovering methods to increase the system to have the ability to study a variety of frequencies concurrently, slightly than focusing on the one frequency of the prevailing system. They will even proceed to find out the capabilities of the system utilizing extra highly effective quantum sensors at Lincoln Laboratory, the place some members of the analysis crew are situated.

Reference: “Sensing Arbitrary Frequency Fields Utilizing a Quantum Mixer” By Guoqing Wang, Yi Xiang Liu, Jennifer M Schloss, Scott T. Alcid, Daniel A. Braggi and Paula Capellaro, 17 Jun 2022, Out there right here. X . bodily evaluate.
DOI: 10.1103/ PhysRevX.12.021061

The crew included Yi Xiang Liu of the Massachusetts Institute of Know-how, Jennifer Schloss, Scott Alcid and Daniel Bray at Lincoln Laboratory. The work was supported by the Protection Superior Analysis Initiatives Company (DARPA).

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