The mining, navigation, minerals exploration and environmental hydrology sectors are set to benefit from new University of Queensland research into quantum technology.
UQ School of Mathematics and Physics theoretical physicist Dr Simon Haine has demonstrated a technique that can be universally applied to theoretical calculations of matter-wave dynamics and used to improve the sensitivity of measurement devices.
“Until now, there has been no clear way to quantify the sensitivity of these devices, especially when the behaviour of the system is dominated by complicated wave-like dynamics,” Dr Haine said.
“When quantum physics takes over, we can no longer model the movement of atoms by treating them as simple particles. We need to treat them as waves.”
Dr Haine said the research, published in Physical Review Letters, would enable ultra-precise measurements of movement such as accelerations and rotations and of the strength and direction of gravity.
The ultra-precise measurements have applications on land and sea.
“The ability to ultra-precisely measure accelerations and rotations is important for submarines, and by using ultra-precise sensing technology, they can track their movement without needing to reveal their position by surfacing to access the Global Positioning satellites,” he said.
“Similarly, these ultra-precise measurements of gravitational fields can be used by the mining industry to help detect what is beneath the ground.