The Quantum Sensors Division develops advanced photon and particle sensors to measure energy and power more precisely than traditional technologies. The sensors make use of (1) quantum effects, especially superconductivity, to provide high responsivity and (2) ultra-low temperatures to suppress noise. Signals of interest span the electromagnetic spectrum from millimeter-waves produced in the earliest moments of the universe to gamma-rays produced by nuclear fuel.
The Quantum Sensors Division applies advanced sensors to challenging measurement problems in a wide range of fields. The work often involves collaboration with companies and research institutes outside of NIST. Devices fabricated by the Division have been used in places that include outer space, the South Pole, the Atacama Plateau, the summit of Mauna Kea, nuclear laboratories, quantum computers, particle accelerators and synchrotrons.
The Quantum Sensors Division has existed in various forms since its creation in the early 1990s. Over this span of time, the Division has grown to more than 50 scientists, technicians, engineers, and students. Members of the Division have done pioneering research on topics that include superconducting transition-edge sensors, SQUID multiplexing, parametric amplifiers, microwave kinetic inductance detectors, and several types of advanced refrigerators.
The Quantum Sensors Division is presently divided into 4 groups:
Major activities of the Quantum Sensors Division include: