A new device can detect radiation on a scale of one trillionth of the usual size

radiation detectors

A group of researchers has accurately measured energies that are a trillion times smaller than those measured by standard instruments. This means that microwave radiation can be assessed more accurately in quantum physics experiments.

Being able to build quantum information systems by measuring ultra-low levels of power is useful for scientists.digital nitrate tester Because, quantum systems develop on a very small scale, the temperature is usually very low. And now we can analyze the measurements with much higher precision requirements.

In quantum experiments, energy is measured by a special thermometer called a "calorimeter".radiation detectors It tracks temperature by changing the resistance of a small piece of material (usually a metal or semiconductor) as it absorbs energy.

The researchers added a heater of known current and voltage to the new system.geiger counter handheld By knowing exactly how much heat was being put in, the scientists found very small changes in energy caused by very weak microwaves.

Part of what makes quantum physics so challenging is that quantum systems are so fragile that they can be damaged or interfered with by the tiniest disturbances, including the tools we use to measure them. One way the new method can help is by detecting these disturbances.

To get accurate results, the measuring line used to control the quantum bits should be at a very low temperature, free of thermal photons and excess radiation. Now, with this radiometric thermometer, we can actually measure the temperature of the radiation without interference from the quantum bit circuitry.

The new device is called a "nanoradiometer," and early tests of weak microwave technology using radio frequency transmission lines have shown that the instrumental analysis can more accurately record changes in system power.

Of course, this work also builds on earlier research to create a radiothermometer capable of measuring the energy states of quantum bits. The method is scalable and does not consume much energy while eliminating any potential interference from the quantum bits.

Radiometric thermometers could be used in a variety of scenarios, including as part of deep space telescopes, but if they could actually be used for quantum bits, it would mean we are one step closer to fully realizing a quantum computing system.

Microwave measurements happen in wireless communications, radar technology and many other fields. They all have their own methods for making accurate measurements, but when it comes to quantum technology measuring very weak microwave signals, there is no way to do the same thing. The radiometer is an advanced diagnostic instrument that has not yet appeared in the quantum technology toolbox, so it is very exciting.

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