Expanding these ultrasensitive nanoscale detectors’ capabilities could help with quantum computing and biological sensing, according to MIT experts. Quantum sensors are capable of detecting even minute variations in electrical or magnetic fields. This has enabled precise measurements to be done in the areas of physics, and basic physics. These sensors are only marginally functional because they can only recognize a few frequencies of these fields. Researchers at MIT have succeeded in making such sensors capable of detecting any frequency without impairing their ability to analyze properties at the nanoscale scale. The new technique was published in a publication in Physical Review X by Paola Cappellaro from MIT and Guoqing Wang, a doctoral student in nuclear science and engineering. At MIT’s Lincoln Laboratory, he also teaches nuclear science and physics.
The team has submitted an application for patent protection. Although quantum sensors can take many different forms, their fundamental property is that some particles are so perfectly balanced that even slight changes in fields can have an impact on them. These sensors can be used to find trapped ions and neutral atoms. Research involving these sensors is expanding quickly. While physicists use them to study unusual states of matter like topological phases and time crystals, scientists utilize them to characterize practical technologies like experimental quantum memory or computation. Quantum sensors can also pick up on a variety of other fascinating events. Graduate student Guoqing Wang works with nuclear science engineering and physics professor Paola Capepellaro. In a report that was published in Physical Review X, she and four other researchers from MIT’s Lincoln Laboratory describe the new technique. The team has already filed a patent application for this novel method. Quantum sensors can be created in a variety of methods, but at their core, they consist of a system where some particles are in such a perfect state that even slight changes in the fields they are susceptible to can affect how they behave. These can be neutral atoms, trapped ions, solid-state spins, or neutral atoms. Research using these sensors has grown quickly. They are used by physicists to characterize helpful tools like experimental quantum memory and to examine unique states of matter like so-called time crystals and topological phases of computation systems. However, over a far wider frequency range than what is currently detectable by quantum sensors, many more intriguing occurrences take place. Even if there are other ways to modify the frequency sensitivity of particular quantum sensors. However, this requires a substantial apparatus and a potent magnetic field. These could remove minuscule details, preventing the new technology from offering the highest resolution. Wang claims that in order to be tuned, such devices require a strong magnetic field. However, that magnetic field can alter the behavior you’re trying to study and damage the quantum materials’ properties. Cappellaro believes that the system’s capacity to access a range of electromagnetic or electrical activity frequencies at the level of a single cell may open up new opportunities in the biomedical field. She said that the resolution of such signals by current quantum sensing technology would be difficult.
This technology may be able to identify a neuron’s output signals as it responds to a stimulus. However, it could be difficult to detect such signals because this system is typically surrounded by a lot of noise. This technology may be used to thoroughly examine exotic materials, such as 2D materials, which are currently the subject of in-depth research into their electromagnetic and optical properties. The team is still considering the possibility of expanding the system’s capabilities so that it may examine more than one frequency at once in addition to the current one. The researchers will continue to enhance the system’s capabilities by utilizing more potent quantum sensing equipment at Lincoln Laboratory, where some of the study team members are situated.