Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Listening with one atom: New record for measuring magnetic vibrations using the spin of a single atom

Date:
May 31, 2011
Source:
Weizmann Institute of Science
Summary:
Scientists have set a new record for measuring magnetic vibrations using the spin of a single atom: 100 times more accurate than the previous record.

Ion trap in the lab of Dr. Roee Ozeri.
Credit: Image courtesy of Weizmann Institute of Science

The lab, though it may seem quiet and insulated, can be as full of background noise as a crowded train station when we're trying to catch the announcements. Our brains can filter out the noise and focus on the message up to a certain point, but turning up the volume on the loudspeakers -- improving the signal-to-noise ratio -- helps as well.

Related Articles


Separating out the signal from the noise -- increasing one while reducing the other -- is so basic that much of scientific research could not take place without it. One common method, developed by the physicist Robert Dicke at Princeton University, is based on a principle similar to the one that enables radio broadcasts to pass through the noisy atmosphere. In short, one modulates electric waves (which correspond to the sound waves) one wishes to send over long distances, adding them on top of a high-frequency wave. To listen to the broadcast, one must have a receiver that is tuned to the frequency of the carrier wave (that numbered band on the FM dial), which then splits the two waves apart and amplifies the second "rider" wave -- the music or talk we want to hear.

The method used by the physics labs is called "locked-in amplification." Here, too, a low-frequency, measured signal "rides" a high-frequency wave. A locked-in amplifier singles out the specific wave from the rest of the noise, "locking" onto the required signal and enabling scientists to make all sorts of accurate measurements.

To obtain good spatial resolution, one should measure with the smallest possible detector; one can't get much smaller than a single atom. The world of single atoms, however, is governed by the laws of quantum physics, and any sort of observation in the quantum world is a complex undertaking. The Heisenberg uncertainty principle, one of the cornerstones of quantum theory, sets limits on our ability to measure with any kind of precision. But that very theory contains some clues as to how these limits can be approached.

Dr. Roee Ozeri and research students Shlomi Kotler, Nitzan Akerman, Yinnon Glickman and Anna Keselman in the Weizmann Institute's Physics of Complex Systems Department applied the rules of quantum mechanics to a single atomic-ion detector, building a quantum version of a locked-in amplifier. Using the ions' spin as a sensor, they were able to measure magnetic vibrations with a spatial resolution of a just few nanometers (a few billionths of a meter). The sensitivity of this measurement was extremely high: around 100 times better than any previous such measurement. This technique, says Ozeri, could be used in physics labs around the world to improve the sensitivity of all sorts of quantum sensors.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Weizmann Institute of Science. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Shlomi Kotler, Nitzan Akerman, Yinnon Glickman, Anna Keselman, Roee Ozeri. Single-ion quantum lock-in amplifier. Nature, 2011; 473 (7345): 61 DOI: 10.1038/nature10010

Cite This Page:

Weizmann Institute of Science. "Listening with one atom: New record for measuring magnetic vibrations using the spin of a single atom." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 31 May 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/05/110525110151.htm>.
Weizmann Institute of Science. (2011, May 31). Listening with one atom: New record for measuring magnetic vibrations using the spin of a single atom. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 25, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/05/110525110151.htm
Weizmann Institute of Science. "Listening with one atom: New record for measuring magnetic vibrations using the spin of a single atom." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/05/110525110151.htm (accessed October 25, 2014).

Share This



More Matter & Energy News

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

IKEA Desk Converts From Standing to Sitting With One Button

IKEA Desk Converts From Standing to Sitting With One Button

Buzz60 (Oct. 24, 2014) IKEA is out with a new convertible desk that can convert from a sitting desk to a standing one with just the push of a button. Jen Markham explains. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ebola Protective Suits Being Made in China

Ebola Protective Suits Being Made in China

AFP (Oct. 24, 2014) A factory in China is busy making Ebola protective suits for healthcare workers and others fighting the spread of the virus. Duration: 00:38 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Real-Life Transformer Robot Walks, Then Folds Into a Car

Real-Life Transformer Robot Walks, Then Folds Into a Car

Buzz60 (Oct. 24, 2014) Brave Robotics and Asratec teamed with original Transformers toy company Tomy to create a functional 5-foot-tall humanoid robot that can march and fold itself into a 3-foot-long sports car. Jen Markham has the story. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
Police Testing New Gunfire Tracking Technology

Police Testing New Gunfire Tracking Technology

AP (Oct. 24, 2014) A California-based startup has designed new law enforcement technology that aims to automatically alert dispatch when an officer's gun is unholstered and fired. Two law enforcement agencies are currently testing the technology. (Oct. 24) Video provided by AP
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:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Space & Time

Matter & Energy

Computers & Math

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