For years, scientists have been trying to dig out more facts about life as a whole and what all components are a part of it. One of those important components is dark matter. Dark matter makes up around 27% of the universe’s energy and substance, but scientists are only just beginning to understand it.
Although one thing is clear dark matter is cold as the particles move slowly. Since it doesn’t interact with light, detecting dark matter becomes difficult. But looks like there is a breakthrough!
U.S. Dept of Energy Breakthrough: Detecting Dark Matter With Quantum Computers
The U.S. Department of Energy is working constantly and this direction and now the scientists at Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory have maybe found a method of detecting dark matter through quantum computers.
The senior scientist, Aaron Chou has been continuously working to use quantum science and detect dark matter. He joined the High Energy Physics QuantISED program at the DOE office. During that time, Aaron developed a method to use the main component of a quantum computer, Qubit, to detect the working on dark matter. Through qubits, single photons’ presence can be detected if there is a strong magnetic field.
If we talk about a basic computer, it processes information through binary language in the sets of 1 and 0. When 1 and 0 are arranged in specific patterns, they allow the computer to function effectively. Whereas when it comes to a quantum computer, both 1 and 0 exist in qubits together until the patterns are read. Superposition, a quantum mechanical feature, is the name of this technique. This enables a quantum computer to perform complex functions that are difficult for a standard computer to do.
As said by the scientist Aaron Chu, qubits manipulate single photons. So, if you are using small excitations of information, you are suspectable to different external disturbances.
The qubits need to be in a controlled environment in order to operate at quantum levels. This would protect the qubits from any kind of outside interference and keep them steady at cold temperatures. The quantum computer’s program would be useless even in the event of a small disruption. Due to this extremely sensitive nature, quantum computers can be a method to detect dark matter. Realizing this fact, Aaron Chu further saw that any dark matter detector is shielded in the same way that quantum computers have to be. This further gave a positive indication of the entire idea.
Stating the conclusions, Chou said that dark matter detectors and quantum computers are always shielded heavily. Only dark matter can jump through the shield. So, if anyone is building the quantum computer this way, why can’t be used to detect dark matter?
Any strong magnetic field can cause dark matter to produce photons that can be measured with qubits when it passes through it. These superconducting qubits are present in the aluminum photon cavity. Since the qubit is protected from disturbances from the outside, when these disturbances are found in the photon, it shows that the dark matter is traveling through the protective layer. The senior scientist said if the computer loads any information at places that didn’t have any information, this indicates that the disturbances can lead to errors. For instance, if 0 turns into 1 from particles that are moving through the device.
Till now, Aaron Chou along with his team has explained the way this technique functions. The method they have used is better than other sensors and has a low-level noise. This ensures a heightened sense of dark matter identification.
The team now plans to develop the detection experiment and improve their device’s design.