Using macroscopic quantum systems as detectors
When properly engineered, simple quantum systems such as harmonic oscillators or spins can be excellent detectors of feeble forces and fields. Following a general introduction to this fast growing area of research I will focus on two simple and experimentally realizable examples: a nitrogen vacancy (NV) center in diamond interacting with its many-body environment, and acoustic modes of superfluid helium interacting with gravitational waves.
In the first case, I will demonstrate within a semi-classical description that it is possible to understand (and even control) the quantum many-body environment of the of the NV center, thereby enabling several magnetometry applications. In the second example, I will show that for reasonable experimental parameters a hybrid quantum system consisting of superfluid helium coupled to superconducting cavity could enable the detection of gravitational waves from nearby pulsars.
Swati Singh received her B.Sc. in Physics at McMaster University in 2004. After obtaining her M.Sc. in Physics from the University of British Columbia in 2007 working on ultracold atomic physics experiments, she transitioned to theoretical physics for her Ph.D. Under the guidance of Pierre Meystre at the University of Arizona, she worked on various theoretical problems related to optomechanical systems. This culminated in her dissertation: “Hybrid atomic-optomechanical systems: observing quantum effects in macroscopic oscillators”.
After receiving her Ph.D. in 2012, she worked on theoretical problems in the area of optomechanics and solid-state qubits as an ITAMP postdoctoral fellow at Harvard University (2012-15). After a brief further postdoc at the University of Arizona, Dr. Singh joined the faculty at Williams College in 2016 as an Assistant Professor of Physics, where she continues to work on a broad range of problems in theoretical quantum optics. Her current research interests include investigating novel optomechanical detectors for gravitational waves, using atomic systems to mediate optomechanical effects, understanding spin bath dynamics in solid-state qubits, and quantum thermodynamics.