Radio waves

A new way to cool radio waves down to their quantum ground state

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

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

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

The laser cooling technique is often used to cool atom clouds. Using this technique, as mentioned above, the 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 that remains in the circuit is solely due to quantum fluctuations, the noise that comes from the weird quantum jumps predicted by quantum mechanics.”

Journal reference:
  1. Inès Corveira Rodrigues et al. Cooling of photon pressure circuits in the quantum regime. DO I: 10.1126/sciadv.abg6653