One of the areas where there seems great promise, but also great confusion, is the Quantum Computer. I’m not going to try and sort that all out here. You can follow the links to get a better idea of the topic. However there is one aspect that does interest me. In my post on Music Electronics I looked at how I got started in my career. One of the things that I spent a great deal of time working on was getting cleaner, clearer and Low Noise Amplification for microphone pick-ups. So I read a recent IEEE article on Quantum Noise and amplification with great interest.
The full article on Quantum Quiet Amplification covers a range of topics but I am going to focus on the amplification mechanism as this shows some very innovative ideas in operation, and also the nature of research. What we have below is a microscopic view of the amplification device with the main area of interest on the right and half way down. You are looking at the core component of a mechanical resonator that amplifies microwave signals. That’s right, a mechanical structure to amplify a microwave signal.
A more complete picture showing all the components is shown below. Both images are from the original IEEE article.
Research and Discovery
Now there is a lot of conjecture about whether this will allow them to get to a low enough noise amplification or not, and there is a good argument that the mechanical resonator will have all of the same primary Quantum Noise issues an electronic amplifier has. But it also has the potential to remove, or at least reduce, the effects of Flicker Noise, which is a problem with existing electronics based amplification systems based on the Josephson Junction. It will take some time to see whether this novel approach really does deliver a long term advantage. However it is also a great example of good research and the relationship between Research and Discovery.
They were looking for a way to cool a mechanical resonator when they noticed that under certain conditions it amplified microwave signals . So they found something new looking for something else. This is the nature of science. And a great example of following a new path of great promise.
Successful Endeavours specialise in Electronics Design and Embedded Software Development. Ray Keefe has developed market leading electronics products in Australia for nearly 30 years. This post is Copyright © 2011 Successful Endeavours Pty Ltd