New way to cool radio waves way down to their quantum ground state

A new way to counteract the noise of the jiggling atoms.


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Radio waves contain noise that emerges from the random motion of the atoms in the things they are emitted from. One way to reduce this noise is to cool down the radio waves.

Using a circuit analogous laser cooling technique, scientists at the Delft University of Technology have discovered a new way to cool radio waves to their quantum ground state. 

They developed a device using a technique called photon pressure coupling that could also be used to detect ultra-weak magnetic resonance (MRI) signals or for quantum-sensing applications that can help the search for dark matter.

The laser cooling technique is often used to cool atom clouds. Using this technique, as mentioned above, scientists cooled the radio wave signals in their device down to the quantum ground state.

Group leader Gary Steele of TU Delft. Steele’s group specializes in quantum sensing using superconducting quantum circuits said, “The dominant noise leftover in the circuit is only due to quantum fluctuations, the noise that comes from the strange quantum jumps predicted by quantum mechanics.”

Journal Reference:
  1. Ines Corveira Rodrigues et al. Cooling photon-pressure circuits into the quantum regime. DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.abg6653


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