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Research Highlights

Published: Fri, 04/21/2017 - 8:15am

The Regal group recently met the challenge of measurements in an extreme situation with a device called an interferometer. The researchers succeeded by using creative alterations to the device itself and quantum correlations. Quantum correlations are unique, and often counterintuitive, quantum mechanical interactions that occur among quantum objects such as photons and atoms. The group exploited these interactions in the way they set up their interferometer, and improved its ability to measure tiny motions using photons (particles of light).

The group started with an ordinary interferometer, a device that has long been used for making precision measurements. However, this particular interferometer included a tiny vibrating membrane. In typical interferometers, sending more photons into the device improves the measurement precision.  But, the Regal group accesses a strange regime in which sending more photons into the interferometer actually reduced the precision of the measurements.

But instead of giving up on improving their measurements, the researchers were able to make a record-setting measurement of a vibrating mechanical membrane in the interferometer....

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