New quantum sensing technique reveals magnetic connections

By Leah Hesla, Q-NEXT

A research team supported by the Q-NEXT quantum research center demonstrates a new way to use quantum sensors to tease out relationships between microscopic magnetic fields.

Say you notice a sudden drop in temperature on both your patio and kitchen thermometers. At first, you think it’s because of a cold snap, so you crank up the heat in your home. Then you realize that while the outside has indeed become colder, inside, someone left the refrigerator door open.

Initially, you thought the temperature drops were correlated. Later, you saw that they weren’t.

Recognizing when readings are correlated is important not only for your home heating bill but for all of science. It’s especially challenging when measuring properties of atoms.

Now scientists — including those from UW–Madison physics professor Shimon Kolkowitz‘s group — have developed a method, reported in Science, that enables them to see whether magnetic fields detected by a pair of atom-scale quantum sensors are correlated or not.

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