Dutch researchers have created an integrated circuit that allows you to listen to the weakest radio signal allowed by quantum mechanics. The invention can be applied in medicine, astronomy and physical research.
Usually the problem of a weak signal is solved by looking for a point where it will be stronger. However, for magnetic resonance imaging in a hospital or for space exploration with a telescope, this option is not suitable. Therefore, a team of scientists from Delft University of Technology decided to go the other way and increase the sensitivity of the device..
They developed a chip that can detect photons or quanta of energy, which are the weakest signals allowed by the theory of quantum mechanics..
According to scientists, in the quantum world, energy is composed of discrete elements that determine the minimum steps of change, but they are too small to be noticed. Until recently, a similar situation belonged and to radio waves. However, the presented scheme makes it possible to detect these minimal portions of energy in radio signals..
A picture of a microcircuit taken using an electron microscope. Image width is 0.3 mm.
The researchers plan to use the invention to study gravity at a quantum level. In their opinion, such experiments will make it possible to check whether it is possible to achieve a quantum superposition of space-time itself.
We also previously reported that British researchers have created the first quantum accelerometer for navigation that works autonomously and does not depend on external signals or satellites.
text: Ilya Bauer, photo: Technische Universiteit Delft
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