Scientists from the National Laboratory in Los Alamos (DOE / Los Alamos National Laboratory) have created a device for carrying out changes on the verge of quantum laws and the realities of the macrocosm familiar to us all. The development is based on the behavior of clouds of “ultracold” atoms.
In the created installation, atoms cooled to ultra-low temperatures fall under the radiation of one laser, which shines in a certain plane. A second laser, directed at an angle, “draws” patterns on the surface of the first beam that direct ultracold atoms into two semicircles separated by small gaps known as Josephson junctions.
The setup, called the Superconducting QUantum Interference Device (SQUID), can be used as part of a quantum computer and as a supersensitive sensor to detect even the slightest rotation. When the SQUID rotates and the Josephson junctions move towards each other, the number of atoms in the semicircles changes as a result of the quantum mechanical interference of currents through the Josephson junctions. By counting the atoms in each part of the semicircle, researchers can very accurately determine the speed of rotation of the system.
“In our device, quantum interference in electron currents can be used to create one of the most sensitive magnetic field detectors,” said Changhyun Ryu, a physicist in the Physics and Materials Applications group at Los Alamos National Laboratory. “We use neutral atoms in the device, not charged electrons, and instead of reacting to magnetic fields, our system is sensitive to mechanical rotation.”
In addition to the SQUID motion sensor, it is supposed to be used as an additional computational component of modern quantum computers.
Currently, we are talking about creating the first prototype quantum device (SQUID), which has a long way to go before it can become part of quantum computers or conventional devices and gadgets. But, since we are talking about studying patterns on the verge of quantum and ordinary laws of physics, researchers predict incredible prospects for this direction.