Squeezing Schrödinger’s cat could boost quantum technology sensitivity

Neither dead nor alive or maybe both, Schrödinger's cat floats in space, waiting for its box to open and its fate to manifest. Credit: Robert Lea

One of the most fascinating and counter-intuitive ideas in quantum physics is that a quantum system can exist in two opposite states at the same time.

This concept, known as superposition, means that a quantum system can be in a state where, for example, a particle is both here and there simultaneously.

Superposition can be visualized as overlapping waves, which combine through constructive or destructive interference.

This means the peaks and troughs of the waves meet and either amplify or cancel each other, resulting in a single wave.

This idea is perfectly illustrated by the famous thought experiment called “Schrödinger’s cat,” where a hypothetical cat in a sealed box is both dead and alive until someone looks inside and the superposition collapses into one definite state.

This strange concept of superposition is central to the development of revolutionary technologies like quantum sensors and quantum computers.

In quantum computers, for example, the basic units of information, called “bits” in standard computers, are replaced by “quantum bits” or “qubits.” Qubits can exist in multiple contradictory states at once, just like Schrödinger’s cat.

A recent study published in Physics Open by researchers Ranjit Singh from Moscow, Russia, and Alexander E. Teretenkov from the Steklov Mathematical Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences, has explored how the sensitivity of quantum technologies can be improved.

They found that using “squeezed Schrödinger cat states” can enhance the performance of these technologies. Squeezing refers to a process that reduces noise—random, unpredictable, and unwanted signals—affecting measurements.

Singh explains that squeezed Schrödinger cat states can detect small disturbances when they interact with a medium. This method is more effective than using Schrödinger cat states without squeezing.

Their theoretical research suggests that by using an optical parametric process, they can increase the number of photons in a Schrödinger cat state, improve quantum sensitivity, and maintain the interference patterns inherent in the Schrödinger cat state.

This is significant because increasing the number of photons and reducing noise leads to higher quantum sensitivity. Singh and Teretenkov’s work highlights that squeezed Schrödinger cat states are promising for many aspects of modern quantum physics and technology.

These squeezed states are already widely used in quantum optics, and Schrödinger cat states are gaining increasing attention from scientists and technologists.

The implications of this research extend beyond theory. It could lead to practical applications, particularly in quantum sensors, which are devices that use the principles of quantum mechanics to make extremely precise measurements.

Singh concludes that their research sits at the intersection of important trends in modern quantum physics, potentially driving advancements in significant quantum technologies.

In summary, squeezing Schrödinger’s cat states can increase the sensitivity of quantum technologies, paving the way for more precise and effective quantum devices.

Source: KSR.