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Advanced Interferometer Developed to Reduce Quantum Noise

Category: Science & Technology
Posted: 09:34AM

One of the implications of quantum mechanics is that everything can be thought of in terms of probability, instead of certainty. While this allows for some interesting phenomena, it also can make measurements noisy. Researchers at Vienna University of Technology however have developed a new measurement technique that could significantly reduce quantum noise.

Interferometers are very useful devices that operate by splitting a wave in half, causing the two halves to take different paths and be affected by different forces, and then recombine the wave-halves. As the phase of the wave-halves will have shifted, the final wave will have an interference pattern indicative of the forces the half-waves experienced. Typically interferometers use light waves, but some use matter waves instead, and the interferometer these researchers built uses a Bose-Einstein condensate instead. A condensate is a cloud of atoms all in the same quantum state, which greatly reduces the effects of quantum noise on them.

Producing the interferometer was quite difficult as matters waves are harder to work with than light waves, but this new design could have a great impact on the future. By preparing the condensate correctly, theoretically the interferometer could reduce its uncertainty to math Heisenberg's uncertainty principle; the minimum amount of uncertainty in a system.

Source: Vienna University of Technology

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