(ScienceDaily) Scientists at the UK Quantum Technology Hub Sensors and Timing, which is led by the University of Birmingham, are working on ways to improve the capabilities of sensors are now using quantum technologies, based on cold atoms, to improve their sensitivity.
The team of researchers has used a new approach that will enable quantum sensors to shrink to a fraction of their current size.
The quantum technology currently used in sensing devices works by finely controlling laser beams to engineer and manipulate atoms at super-cold temperatures. To manage this, the atoms have to be contained within a vacuum-sealed chamber where they can be cooled to the desired temperatures.
A key challenge in miniaturising the instruments is in reducing the space required by the laser beams, which typically need to be arranged in three pairs, set at angles.
Dr Yu-Hung Lien, lead author of the study, says: “The mission of the UK Quantum Technology Hub is to deliver technologies that can be adopted and used by industry. Designing devices that are small enough to be portable or which can fit into industrial processes and practices is vital. This new approach represents a significant step forward in this approach.”