Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Look but don't touch

13.05.2013
ICFO researchers present a non-destructive technique for measuring at the atomic scale

Improving our understanding of the human brain, gathering insights into the origin of our universe through the detection of gravitational waves, or optimizing the precision of GPS systems- all are difficult challenges to master because they require the ability to visualize highly fragile elements, which can be terminally damaged by any attempt to observe them. Now, quantum physics has provided a solution.

In an article published in Nature Photonics, researchers at the Institute of Photonic Sciences (ICFO) report the observation of a highly fragile and volatile body through a new quantum-mechanical measurement technique.

Researchers from the group led by Morgan Mitchell applied the so-called "quantum non-demolition measurement" to a tiny cloud of atoms. They were able to observe the spinning of the electrons in the atoms, and more importantly, the atom cloud was not disturbed in the process. It is the first time quantum non-demolition measurement has been demonstrated with any material object. The same method could be extended to permit the observation of individual atoms.

In the experiment, scientists prepared light pulses with photons in complementary states, and then sent them through the cloud of atoms, measuring their polarization on the way out. "A first measurement gives us information reflecting the action of the first light pulse. A second measurement, taken with photons in a complementary state from the first, cancels the influence of the preliminary pulse, allowing us to observe the original characteristics of the object," explains Dr. Robert Sewell, researcher at ICFO. This process has enabled the team to gather precise information on the magnetic field of the atom's surroundings.

The information obtained exceeds the so-called "standard quantum limit", which quantifies the maximum amount of information obtainable with any traditional probing. Two achievements made this possible. On one hand, researchers were able to structure the observation so that the noise resulting from the visualization was shifted away from the object being measured and into a different variable. In addition, they introduced quantum statistical correlations among the atoms so that they were able to gather in one measurement what previously they needed a collection of measurements to observe. "This experiment provides rigorous proof of the effectiveness of quantum physics for measuring delicate objects" concludes Sewell.

Link to the paper: http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/NPHOTON.2013.100

About ICFO:

ICFO-The Institute of Photonic Sciences conducts research targeting the forefront of the science and technology of light, with programs directed at applications in Health, Renewable Energies, Information Technologies, Security and Industrial processes, among others. The center hosts 250 researchers working in 60 different laboratories. All research groups and facilities are located in a dedicated 14.000 m2 building situated in the Mediterranean Technology Park in the metropolitan area of Barcelona.

Albert Mundet | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.icfo.eu

More articles from Physics and Astronomy:

nachricht Taking a spin on plasma space tornadoes with NASA observations
20.11.2017 | NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center

nachricht NASA detects solar flare pulses at Sun and Earth
17.11.2017 | NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center

All articles from Physics and Astronomy >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: A “cosmic snake” reveals the structure of remote galaxies

The formation of stars in distant galaxies is still largely unexplored. For the first time, astron-omers at the University of Geneva have now been able to closely observe a star system six billion light-years away. In doing so, they are confirming earlier simulations made by the University of Zurich. One special effect is made possible by the multiple reflections of images that run through the cosmos like a snake.

Today, astronomers have a pretty accurate idea of how stars were formed in the recent cosmic past. But do these laws also apply to older galaxies? For around a...

Im Focus: Visual intelligence is not the same as IQ

Just because someone is smart and well-motivated doesn't mean he or she can learn the visual skills needed to excel at tasks like matching fingerprints, interpreting medical X-rays, keeping track of aircraft on radar displays or forensic face matching.

That is the implication of a new study which shows for the first time that there is a broad range of differences in people's visual ability and that these...

Im Focus: Novel Nano-CT device creates high-resolution 3D-X-rays of tiny velvet worm legs

Computer Tomography (CT) is a standard procedure in hospitals, but so far, the technology has not been suitable for imaging extremely small objects. In PNAS, a team from the Technical University of Munich (TUM) describes a Nano-CT device that creates three-dimensional x-ray images at resolutions up to 100 nanometers. The first test application: Together with colleagues from the University of Kassel and Helmholtz-Zentrum Geesthacht the researchers analyzed the locomotory system of a velvet worm.

During a CT analysis, the object under investigation is x-rayed and a detector measures the respective amount of radiation absorbed from various angles....

Im Focus: Researchers Develop Data Bus for Quantum Computer

The quantum world is fragile; error correction codes are needed to protect the information stored in a quantum object from the deteriorating effects of noise. Quantum physicists in Innsbruck have developed a protocol to pass quantum information between differently encoded building blocks of a future quantum computer, such as processors and memories. Scientists may use this protocol in the future to build a data bus for quantum computers. The researchers have published their work in the journal Nature Communications.

Future quantum computers will be able to solve problems where conventional computers fail today. We are still far away from any large-scale implementation,...

Im Focus: Wrinkles give heat a jolt in pillared graphene

Rice University researchers test 3-D carbon nanostructures' thermal transport abilities

Pillared graphene would transfer heat better if the theoretical material had a few asymmetric junctions that caused wrinkles, according to Rice University...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Ecology Across Borders: International conference brings together 1,500 ecologists

15.11.2017 | Event News

Road into laboratory: Users discuss biaxial fatigue-testing for car and truck wheel

15.11.2017 | Event News

#Berlin5GWeek: The right network for Industry 4.0

30.10.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Antarctic landscape insights keep ice loss forecasts on the radar

20.11.2017 | Earth Sciences

Filling the gap: High-latitude volcanic eruptions also have global impact

20.11.2017 | Earth Sciences

Water world

20.11.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>