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Chances of this Quantum Crystal being a New Dark Matter Sensor

Researchers at the National Institute of Standards and Technology have connected the tiny blue crystal electronic properties and mechanical motion. Therefore, the event led to an improved quantum edge in gauging electric fields with considerable sensitivity to improve understanding of the universe.


The sensor is comprised of around 150 beryllium ions cramped in a magnetic field; thus, they arrange themselves into a plane 2D crystal with a tiny diameter. Quantum sensors like this have the capability to identify signals from dark matter. 


The presence of dark matter might lead the crystal to twist in tell-tale ways exposed by combined changes amongst the crystal’s ions in its electronic properties called a spin. 


As explained in the August 6, 2021 report, researchers can gauge the vibrational excitation of the crystal by observing changes in the combined spin. Computing the spin implies the amount of vibrational excitation, termed displacement. 


This sensor can sense and measure the exterior electric fields, which have identical vibration frequencies as the crystal with 10 times more sensitivity than any formerly verified atomic sensor.


In the experiments, scientists implement a minor electric field in order to stimulate and test the crystal sensor. A dark matter hunt would seek such an indication. 


A research group has been studying ion crystals for more than a decade now. What is new this time is the use of a particular type of laser light to enmesh the collective spins and motion of a wide number of ions. The researchers also refer to it as a time-reversal approach to evaluate the results.

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