There is a new device out there that is completely rocking the physics community. It relies entirely on flowing clouds of extremely cold atoms and it can potentially lead to tests of the intersection between the peculiar quantum world and the macroscopic world that we know too well and experience at every moment of our lives. The atomtronic Superconducting Quantum Interference Devices, also abbreviated as SQUID, can also be used for some of the extremely sensitive rotation measurements and even as part of quantum computers.
The Physicists Behind It
Changhyun Ryu, a physicist affiliated with the Material Physics and Applications Quantum group, which is part of the Los Alamos National Laboratory, explained that, in a conventional SQUID, the interference on a quantic level within currents of electrons has the potential to be used in order to create one of the most sensitive magnetic field detectors out there.
He has continued by mentioning that the team has decided to use neutral atoms instead of regular charged electrons. It does not respond to magnetic fields, but rather the atomtronic version of a Superconducting Quantum Interference Device is sensitive to a different physical phenomenon, one known as mechanical rotation.
The Ridiculous Scales of the Quantum World
The atomtronic SQUID is very small, ranging to about ten-millionths of a meter across, but it is still thousands of times larger than the molecules and the atoms that are usually governed by the laws of quantum mechanics. The device functions on a relatively large scale, enabling us to test some theories of macroscopic realism.
This is why it could explain how we are familiar as a species to the peculiar quantum world and how it actually runs the entire universe, but on a very small scale. Practically speaking, these atomtronic SQUIDs are able to offer extremely sensitive rotation sensors or they could be used to perform some calculations as part of quantum computers.