(DesignNews) Research funded by the U.S. Army has developed a new sensor that can detect microwave radiation with 100,000 times higher sensitivity than currently available commercial sensors, paving the way for novel communications and weaponry technology.
The sensor—developed by scientists from Harvard University, The Institute of Photonic Sciences, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Pohang University of Science and Technology, and Raytheon BBN Technologies—could be used to improve thermal imaging dramatically as well as provide a basis for inventions in electronic warfare and radio communications,
Important to the work is what’s called a Josephson junction, a quantum mechanical device comprised of two superconducting electrodes and separated by a barrier—which can be a thin insulating tunnel barrier, normal metal, semiconductor, ferromagnet, or the like.
The Army’s interest in the work is to maintain “spectral dominance in the foreseeable future,” Qiu noted in a press statement, as the sensor “will potentially enable new capabilities for applications such as quantum sensing and radar.”

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