November 30, 2022

This Curious Device Could Usher In GPS-Free Navigation

Sandia developed the chamber as a core technology for future navigation systems that dont depend on GPS satellites, Peter said. It was explained earlier this year in the journal AVS Quantum Science.
Countless devices around the world use GPS for wayfinding. Its possible since atomic clocks, which are known for extremely accurate timekeeping, hold the network of satellites perfectly in sync.
A compact device designed and developed at Sandia might end up being a pivotal part of next-generation navigation systems. Credit: Sandia National Laboratory
GPS signals can be jammed or spoofed, potentially disabling navigation systems on military and industrial vehicles alike, Peter stated.
So rather of depending on satellites, Peter stated future vehicles might track their own position. They might do that with on-board devices as accurate as atomic clocks, however that step velocity and rotation by shining lasers into little clouds of rubidium gas like the one Sandia has actually contained.
Compactness key to real-world applications
Atomic accelerometers and gyroscopes currently exist, but theyre too bulky and power-hungry to use in an airplanes navigation system. Thats because they need a large vacuum system to work, one that requires thousands of volts of electricity.
” Quantum sensing units are a growing field, and there are great deals of applications you can demonstrate in the lab,” stated Sandia postdoctoral researcher Bethany Little, who is adding to the research. “But when you move it into the real world there are great deals of issues you have to fix. 2 are making the sensor compact and rugged. The physics happens all in a cubic centimeter (0.06 cubic inches) of volume, so anything larger than that is lost area.”
Bethany said her team has actually shown that quantum sensing can work without a high-powered vacuum system. This shrinks the bundle to a practical size without compromising dependability.
Instead of a powered air pump, which blends away particles that leakage in and damage measurements, a set of devices called getters use chain reactions to bind burglars. The getters are each about the size of a pencil eraser so they can be tucked inside two narrow tubes sticking out of the titanium bundle. They likewise work without a power source.
To further keep out impurities, Peter partnered with Sandia materials scientists to build the chamber out of titanium and sapphire. These materials are especially proficient at shutting out gasses like helium, which can squeeze through stainless steel and Pyrex glass. Financing was supplied by Sandias Laboratory Directed Research and Development program.
Construction took sophisticated fabrication strategies that Sandia has developed to bond advanced materials for nuclear weapons components. And like a nuclear weapon, the titanium chamber must work dependably for years.
The Sandia team is continuing to keep an eye on the device. Their goal is to keep it sealed and operational for five years, an important turning point towards revealing the technology is all set to be fielded. In the meantime, theyre checking out methods to streamline manufacturing.
Reference: “A passively pumped vacuum package sustaining cold atoms for more than 200 days” by Bethany J. Little, Gregory W. Hoth, Justin Christensen, Chuck Walker, Dennis J. De Smet, Grant W. Biedermann, Jongmin Lee and Peter D. D. Schwindt, 15 July 2021, AVS Quantum Science.DOI: 10.1116/ 5.0053885.

Sandia scientist Peter Schwindt, left, and postdoctoral researcher Bethany Little take a look at the vacuum package held in a yellow, 3D-printed install. Credit: Sandia National Laboratory
Sandia reveals sophisticated wayfinding tech could lastly end up being compact, fieldable.
Do not let the titanium metal walls or the sapphire windows deceive you. Its whats on the within this small, curious gadget that might one day begin a new period of navigation.
For over a year, the avocado-sized vacuum chamber has included a cloud of atoms at the right conditions for accurate navigational measurements. It is the first device that is small, trustworthy and energy-efficient enough to possibly move quantum sensors– sensors that use quantum mechanics to outperform traditional innovations– from the lab into commercial use, stated Sandia scientist Peter Schwindt.

” Quantum sensing units are a growing field, and there are lots of applications you can demonstrate in the laboratory,” stated Sandia postdoctoral researcher Bethany Little, who is contributing to the research. Rather of a powered vacuum pump, which whisks away particles that leakage in and damage measurements, a set of gadgets called getters use chemical reactions to bind intruders. To further keep out pollutants, Peter partnered with Sandia products scientists to build the chamber out of titanium and sapphire. Funding was offered by Sandias Laboratory Directed Research and Development program.
The Sandia group is continuing to monitor the device.

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