Quantum Heat Pump Detects Dark Matter

In a recent research study published in the journal “Science Advances” on Aug. 26th, European physicists have designed a new photon pressure circuit that reduces the inaccuracy of quantum measurements when radio-frequency (RF) signals are detected. The research results could be applied to the design of dark matter detection tools with higher sensitivity.

The photon pressure circuit consists of superconducting inductors and capacitors on a silicon chip cooled to just a few millidegrees above absolute zero. The photon-pressure coupling between the two superconducting circuits can be used to study radiation-pressure coupling in distinct parameter regimes, leading to the development of RF quantum photonics, and the development of RF sensing devices close to the quantum limit.

In their latest research experiments, the scientists sent an additional signal to the cold circuit in two photon pressure-coupled superconducting circuits to operate as a parametric amplifier, thus improving the sensitivity of the whole device to RF signals. At the same time, the extra signal is able to create a quantum heat pump for the photons in the superconducting circuit, cooling the photons in one part of the circuit, to a colder temperature than the other part.

RF signals close to the quantum limit are often difficult to measure due to the uncertainty of quantum measurements. Using this new technique, better quantum measurement tools can be designed.

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