Quantum Science & Sensing

Persistent current from Jack Harris

Current Projects

Levitated Superfluids

Links:  Harris Lab websiteJack Harris

optomechanics renderingSuperfluid helium has many unique properties that make it a remarkable material for quantum optomechanics experiments. By magnetically levitating millimeter-scale drops of superfluid in vacuum, we are exploring new ways to exploit these properties and to address outstanding questions in fundamental fluid mechanics.

Quantum Optomechanics

Links:  Harris Lab website, Jack Harris

optomechanics renderingLight that is trapped in a cavity can interact strongly with the motion of a macroscopic object. This interaction provides a powerful means for developing quantum-enhanced sensors, studying quantum effects in massive systems, and searching for physics beyond the standard model. Our group explores these questions in devices whose mass ranges from nanograms to milligrams, and which are constructed from dielectric solids and superfluid helium.

Search for new Interactions in a Microsphere Precision Levitation Experiment (SIMPLE)

Links:  Moore Lab websiteDavid Moore

SIMPLE is a setup at Wright Lab to optically levitate micron sized spheres (“microspheres”) in a laser beam in vacuum.  In high vacuum, the microspheres can be isolated from their room temperature surroundings and their position can be controlled and measured optically using the transmitted laser light.  These techniques allow extremely tiny forces acting on the sphere to be precisely detected, enabling the search for physics beyond the Standard Model and increasing understanding of some of the major unanswered questions in high energy physics.

Axion Longitudinal Plasma HAloscope (ALPHA)

Links: ALPHA WebsiteKeith Baker, Charles BrownKarsten HeegerSteve LamoreauxKonrad LehnertReina Maruyama

ALPHA is looking for a theorized particle called the axion, which is candidate for dark matter that, if detected, would provide important clues to the nature of dark matter and the constitution of the mass content of the universe. ALPHA, which will be located at Wright Lab, will build on the success of HAYSTAC (see below) and search for even higher mass axions by employing a novel axion detector called a plasma haloscope. The ALPHA collaboration was founded in May 2021. Yale joined the collaboration in 2023.

Haloscope At Yale Sensitive To Axion CDM (HAYSTAC)

Links:  HAYSTAC websiteSteve LamoreauxReina Maruyama

HAYSTAC tuning mechanism from S. LamoreauxHAYSTAC is looking for galactically-bound cold dark matter (CDM) in the form of Axions, which are very low mass particles that are predicted in the context of the standard model of electroweak interactions (quark, gluon, W, Z, Higgs, etc. are all part of this model). If they do indeed exist and form dark matter, they will convert to radiofrequency photons in the presence of a strong magnetic field. The photon energy, hence frequency, is essentially determined by the axion mass, and is expected to be in the 1-20 GHz region. The heart of our experiment is a tunable radiofrequency (microwave) cavity resonator, which serves to build up the axion signal, and a quantum limited amplifier based on the Josephson effect which occurs when Cooper pairs tunnel though an insulating layer separating two superconductors. HAYSTAC is located at Wright Lab and the Yale team is responsible for systems engineering, cryogenics and magnetics.

Quantum Information Science in High Energy Physics

Link: Keith Baker

Quantum sensors in instrumentation for millimeter wave cosmology

Link: Simons Observatory, CMB-S4 Laura Newburgh

The Newburgh Lab is part of Simons Observatory and CMB-S4, which use sensors that sit on the transition between the superconducting and normal-metal states (‘transition edge sensors’) to sensitively detect photons from the Cosmic Microwave Background. They are read out with superconducting quantum interference devices (SQUIDs), using new wide-bandwidth readout crates to many more sensors in a single connection than was possible before. The Newburgh group is focused on software development for these experiments.