British researchers have created the first quantum accelerometer for navigation that works autonomously and does not depend on external signals or satellites.
Accelerometers measure the projected apparent acceleration. With their help, knowing the coordinates of the starting point, you can determine the current location of the object. They are found in many devices such as mobile phones and laptops. However, for the correct operation of traditional sensors, regular communication with an external source is required, often a GPS satellite navigation system..
The development of the quantum accelerator was carried out by a team of scientists from Imperial College London and the M Squared company and presented. Their device is based on accurate measurements of the properties of atoms cooled to extremely low temperatures. In such conditions, elementary particles begin to behave not only like matter, but also like waves. When moving in space, they react to acceleration, and the interferometer with the help of a laser records the smallest changes.
To determine the current location, the quantum accelerator does not need to communicate with a satellite or other source for verification. At this stage of the development of technology, the device is intended for the navigation of large vehicles such as ships or trains. However, the principle of its operation can be used in other fundamental scientific research, such as the search for dark energy, gravitational waves.
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According to the developers, the loss of communication with the satellite system for 1 day will lead to losses of more than $ 1 billion. Therefore, he began the process of commercializing an innovative product and are engaged in creating real applications based on it..
Canadian physicists have also made headway in the field of quantum technology by creating «hard drive for photons», allowing the storage of sensitive information encoded in pulses of light.
text: Ilya Bauer, photo: Imperial College London