Listening to Quantum Radio | Science and Technology Research News


This quantum chip (1×1 cm) enables the scientists to listen to the weakest radio signal permitted by quantum mechanics.

We have actually all been frustrated by weak radio signals at some time in our lives: our preferred tune in the cars and truck turning to sound, being too far from our wifi router to examine our e-mail. Our typical service is to make the signal larger, for example by choosing a various radio station or by moving to the opposite of the living-room. What if, nevertheless, we could simply listen more thoroughly?

Weak radio signals are not simply an obstacle for individuals attempting to discover their preferred radio station, however likewise for magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scanners at health centers, along with for the telescopes researchers utilize to peer into space.

In a quantum ‘leap’ in radio frequency detection, scientists in the group of Prof. Gary Steele in Delft showed the detection of photons or quanta of energy, the weakest signals permitted by the theory of quantum mechanics.

Quantum pieces

Among the unusual forecasts of quantum mechanics is that energy can be found in small little pieces called ‘quanta’. What does this imply? “Say I am pushing a kid on a swing”, lead scientist Mario Gely stated. ”In the classical theory of physics, if I desire the kid to go a bit quicker I can provide a little push, providing more speed and more energy. Quantum mechanics states something various: I can just increase the kid’s energy one ’quantum action’ at a time. Pressing by half of that quantity is not possible.”

For a kid on a swing these ’quantum actions’ are so small that they are too little to notification. Up until just recently, the very same held true for radio waves. Nevertheless, the research group in Delft established a circuit that can really find these pieces of energy in radio frequency signals, opening the capacity for noticing radio waves at the quantum level.

From quantum radio to quantum gravity?

Beyond applications in quantum noticing, the group in Delft has an interest in taking quantum mechanics to the next level: mass. While the theory of quantum electromagnetism was established almost 100 years back, physicists are still puzzled today on how to fit gravity into quantum mechanics.

“Using our quantum radio, we want to try to listen to and control the quantum vibrations of heavy objects, and explore experimentally what happens when you mix quantum mechanics and gravity”, Gely stated. “Such experiments are hard, but if successful we would be able to test if we can make a quantum superposition of space-time itself, a new concept that would test our understanding of both quantum mechanics and general relativity.”

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