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Quantum Squeezing Boost for Atomic Clock Accuracy

Scientists at the University of Innsbruck and the Institute of Quantum Optics and Quantum Information (IQOQI) of the Austrian Academy of Sciences show how a particular way of creating entanglement can be used to further improve the accuracy of measurements integral to an optical atomic clock’s function.

Observations of quantum systems are always subject to a certain statistical uncertainty. “This is due to the nature of the quantum world,” said Johannes Franke from IQOQI. “Entanglement can help us reduce these errors.”

The Innsbruck physicists tested the measurement accuracy on an entangled ensemble of particles in the laboratory, using lasers to tune the interaction of ions lined up in a vacuum chamber and entangled them.

“The interaction between neighbouring particles decreases with the distance between the particles. Therefore, we used spin-exchange interactions to allow the system to behave more collectively,” said Raphael Kaubrügger from the Department of Theoretical Physics at the University of Innsbruck.

All particles in the chain were entangled with each other and produced a squeezed quantum state. Using this, the physicists were able to show that measurement errors can be roughly halved by entangling 51 ions in relation to individual particles.

This makes sensors even more sensitive. “We used an optical transition in our experiments that is also employed in atomic clocks,” says Christian Roos of IQOQI. This technology could improve areas where atomic clocks are currently used, such as satellite-based navigation or data transfer and opens up new areas such as the search for dark matter or the determination of time-variations of fundamental constants.

Source : EENews Europe

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