Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Yale Physicists First To Create A "Squeezed State" Of Atoms, Which Could Lead To Improved Sensitivity Of Navigation Systems Used On Planes And Ships

Date:
April 24, 2001
Source:
Yale University
Summary:
Yale physicists have created a "squeezed state" of atoms using Bose-Einstein condensate (BEC), a sample of rubidium atoms so cold that all of the atoms collapse into a single quantum state. The results of their study, published in a recent issue of Science, may lead to improvements in the field of precision measurement and could improve navigational systems on planes and ships.

New Haven, Conn. -- Yale physicists have created a "squeezed state" of atoms using Bose-Einstein condensate (BEC), a sample of rubidium atoms so cold that all of the atoms collapse into a single quantum state.

The results of their study, published in a recent issue of Science, may lead to improvements in the field of precision measurement and could improve navigational systems on planes and ships.

"Our experiments are the first to observe number-squeezed states in a sample of atoms," said Chad Orzel, postdoctoral associate in physics at Yale and first author on the study. "Combining the number-squeezed states that we make with the techniques used in atom interferometry, we hope to dramatically improve the sensitivity of detectors for rotation and acceleration, and gradients in gravity. Accelerometers and gyroscopes (rotation detectors) are currently used in navigation systems for planes and ships, and gravity gradiometers have applications in submarine navigation, and in locating ore deposits for mining."

Mark Kasevich, a collaborator on the study, said creating a squeezed state of atoms is like playing a game of modified ice hockey, using a special puck and a very narrow goal. "The object of the game is to get the puck into the goal, but in this modified game, the puck diameter is initially wider than the width of the goal, making it nearly impossible to score a goal," Kasevich said. "But if the puck is made of a deformable material, it could be squeezed into a long, thin, cigar-like shape. Although the puck's length greatly exceeds its width, if the puck is shot head-on into the goal, it could now go through. At this point we don't care that the puck is elongated, so long as its width is narrower than the width of the goal, we can score."

Kasevich said many quantum-mechanical precision measurements are similar to this. "Often we can trade-off a parameter we care about in one dimension, such as the number of atoms or the width of the puck, for something we don't care about in another dimension, such as the phase of the field or the length of the puck, to enable an outcome which would have not been possible with the non-squeezed state."

The "squeezing" is a metaphor that describes a way of working around the limits of the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle, which places a limit on how accurately the value of two complementary physical quantities can be measured. The Uncertainty Principle states that it is impossible to know both the exact position and the velocity of a particle. "If we make a better measurement of the position, we lose our knowledge of how fast the particle is moving, and vice versa," said Orzel.

The Uncertainty Principle also states that there is a similar relationship between the number of particles in a given state and a quantum-mechanical property of those particles referred to as the "phase" of that state. "If we make a very precise measurement of the number of particles we have, we lose all information about the associated phase," said Orzel. "In typical real-world situations, both the phase and the number are known reasonably well, but are slightly uncertain."

Orzel and collaborators loaded a Bose-Einstein Condensate into an array of atom traps created by a single laser beam. By manipulating the intensity of the trapping laser and the strength of the interactions between the atoms, they were able to reduce the quantum uncertainty in the number of atoms in a single well from +/- 50 atoms to +/- 2 atoms.

"Quantum states of this type, with reduced uncertainty in the number of particles and increased uncertainty in the phase, are called 'squeezed states,' and have been studied extensively in light," said Orzel. "This is the first time anyone has seen number-squeezing in atoms."

The number-squeezed states produced in the laboratory have the potential to dramatically improve the sensitivity of detectors based on atom interferometry. Atom-interferometric detectors for rotation, acceleration and gravity gradients are already as good as state-of-the art detectors based on more traditional means.

"The use of squeezed states in atom interferometry could improve the sensitivity by an order of magnitude or more," Kasevich said.

In addition to Orzel and Kasevich, other researchers on the study at Yale included Ari Tuchman, Mathew Fenselau, and Masami Yasuda, who is now at Tokyo University.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Yale University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Yale University. "Yale Physicists First To Create A "Squeezed State" Of Atoms, Which Could Lead To Improved Sensitivity Of Navigation Systems Used On Planes And Ships." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 24 April 2001. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2001/04/010418072022.htm>.
Yale University. (2001, April 24). Yale Physicists First To Create A "Squeezed State" Of Atoms, Which Could Lead To Improved Sensitivity Of Navigation Systems Used On Planes And Ships. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 16, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2001/04/010418072022.htm
Yale University. "Yale Physicists First To Create A "Squeezed State" Of Atoms, Which Could Lead To Improved Sensitivity Of Navigation Systems Used On Planes And Ships." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2001/04/010418072022.htm (accessed September 16, 2014).

Share This



More Matter & Energy News

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Manufacturer Prints 3-D Car In Record Time

Manufacturer Prints 3-D Car In Record Time

Newsy (Sep. 15, 2014) — Automobile manufacturer Local Motors created a drivable electric car using a 3-D printer. Printing the body only took 44 hours. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Refurbished New York Subway Tunnel Unveiled After Sandy Damage

Refurbished New York Subway Tunnel Unveiled After Sandy Damage

Reuters - US Online Video (Sep. 15, 2014) — New York officials unveil subway tunnels that were refurbished after Superstorm Sandy. Nathan Frandino reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Frustration As Drone Industry Outpaces Regulation In U.S.

Frustration As Drone Industry Outpaces Regulation In U.S.

Newsy (Sep. 14, 2014) — U.S. firms worry they’re falling behind in the marketplace as the FAA considers how to regulate commercial drones. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Smart Gun Innovators Fear Backlash From Gun Rights Advocates

Smart Gun Innovators Fear Backlash From Gun Rights Advocates

Newsy (Sep. 14, 2014) — Winners of a contest for smart gun design are asking not to be named after others in the industry received threats for marketing similar products. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins