New Atomtronic Device to Probe Weird Boundary Between Quantum and Everyday Worlds

Quantum Boundary Concept

An innovative device that utilizes ultracold atom clouds opens up possibilities for exploring the intriguing interplay between the quantum realm’s peculiarities and the everyday macroscopic world.

Clouds of supercooled atoms offer highly sensitive rotation sensors and tests of quantum mechanics.

A new device that relies on flowing clouds of ultracold atoms promises potential tests of the intersection between the weirdness of the quantum world and the familiarity of the macroscopic world we experience every day. The atomtronic Superconducting QUantum Interference Device (SQUID) is also potentially useful for ultrasensitive rotation measurements and as a component in quantum computers.

“In a conventional SQUID, the quantum interference in electron currents can be used to make one of the most sensitive magnetic field detectors,” said Changhyun Ryu, a physicist with the Material Physics and Applications Quantum group at Los Alamos National Laboratory. “We use neutral atoms rather than charged electrons. Instead of responding to magnetic fields, the atomtronic version of a SQUID is sensitive to mechanical rotation.”

Clouds of Supercooled Atoms

A schematic of an atomtronic SQUID shows semicircular traps that separate clouds of atoms, which quantum mechanically interfere when the device is rotated. Credit: Los Alamos National Laboratory

Although small, at only about ten millionths of a meter across, the atomtronic SQUID is thousands of times larger than the molecules and atoms that are typically governed by the laws of quantum mechanics. The relatively large scale of the device lets it test theories of macroscopic realism, which could help explain how the world we are familiar with is compatible with the quantum weirdness that rules the universe on very small scales. On a more pragmatic level, atomtronic SQUIDs could offer highly sensitive rotation sensors or perform calculations as part of quantum computers.

The researchers created the device by trapping cold atoms in a sheet of laser light. A second laser intersecting the sheet “painted” patterns that guided the atoms into two semicircles separated by small gaps known as Josephson Junctions.

When the SQUID is rotated and the Josephson Junctions are moved toward each other, the populations of atoms in the semicircles change as a result of quantum mechanical interference of currents through Josephson Junctions. By counting the atoms in each section of the semicircle, the researchers can very precisely determine the rate the system is rotating.

As the first prototype atomtronic SQUID, the device has a long way to go before it can lead to new guidance systems or insights into the connection between the quantum and classical worlds. The researchers expect that scaling the device up to produce larger diameter atomtronic SQUIDs could open the door to practical applications and new quantum mechanical insights.

Reference: “Quantum interference of currents in an atomtronic SQUID” by C. Ryu, E. C. Samson and M. G. Boshier, 3 July 2020, Nature Communications.
DOI: 10.1038/s41467-020-17185-6

Los Alamos National Laboratory’s Laboratory Directed Research and Development program provided funding.

6 Comments on "New Atomtronic Device to Probe Weird Boundary Between Quantum and Everyday Worlds"

  1. Paul Sinkovitz | July 18, 2020 at 9:49 pm | Reply

    The spin factor is known to Tesla in the fact that a motor is a generator. What determines which direction is the design. It is not a secret. Every phyics text book has a chapter on a electron path within a magnetic field. I have tract the mini moon for 3 years and documented it on film (DVD). The orbit about the Earth is from LEFT to RIGHT in a cork screw pattern. The moon remains set within the gravity field at a distance of (I was unable to measure) the camera was positioned on Dish network’s Satellite 20,000 miles above the Earth. The pattern is a cork-screw left to right till it reaches the Northern extream and gravity pulls it back till it reaches the Southern limit and then is pulled North. It is in the INFINITY path A mechanical Spring. A pump!

  2. Paul Sinkovitz | July 18, 2020 at 9:58 pm | Reply

    The mini moon maybe the cause of Global Warming which I would have my douts’. I believe that it is due to the fact that the diminished OIL blanket, which is the HEATSINK of the core is the factor

  3. Paul Sinkovitz | July 18, 2020 at 10:15 pm | Reply

    The orbit of the mini moon is eleven hours and fifty minutes This is by the clock on the wall. Picture the electron’s path in the text book to the fact that is evident in the observed. As a matter of discussion what say you? The time zone that appears is west coast. I am in Ohio.

  4. Paul Sinkovitz | July 19, 2020 at 5:32 am | Reply

    The pattern of heavenly bodies are the same as those at the quantum. Know that, you only have had to look.

  5. Jamie keathley | July 19, 2020 at 6:40 am | Reply

    The synthetic atom is here and has always been here throughout all of time. We are the creators of god. God technology. The orb technology is god.

  6. The quantum world where we finally begin to see the brilliance of the mind of God.
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    “I confess that I am a sinner in need of salvation. I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, died on the cross for my sins and arose on the 3rd day. I accept Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior. In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.”
    Just can’t find the belief? Then say aloud “Jesus Christ, if you are the truth, then reveal yourself to me.” While this last isn’t salvation it is an invitation to do so in His own time.

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