(EurekaAlert) A team of Brown University researchers will use a $2 million grant from the National Science Foundation to build a quantum mechanical magnetic camera, which will take snapshots of weak magnetic fields emanating from quantum materials. The camera will help researchers to understand the exotic materials that may one day be used in quantum computers and other quantum devices.
“Just as the camera on your phone has an array of photosensors that register light and create an image, our device will use magnetic sensors that can ‘see’ magnetic fields and make images or movies of magnetic patterns,” said Gang Xiao, chair of the physics department at Brown and principal investigator on the new grant. “We can learn a lot about quantum materials by observing in great detail the magnetic fields they produce, and that’s what this device will let us do.”
“The use for us is in exploring quantum materials, but if we’re able to scale this up, it could be useful for industry as well,” Xiao said. “A large enough camera could be useful in quality control for magnets used in a range of electronic devices. Similar devices could also be used in medical diagnostics to sense tiny shifts in magnetic fields generated by the heart or nervous system.”