Rydberg Atom Quantum Sensing is a key focus area at Ideas Lab. These sensors employ trace amounts of alkali atoms, such as cesium, contained in small enclosures (vapour cells) that can be transparent to radio frequency (RF) waves using multiple laser beams. The atoms are tailored to receive RF signals.
Prototype systems using Rydberg atom quantum sensors can be compact, robust, and operate at room temperature. Once electrons are excited with light to ‘Rydberg states’, they are highly responsive to RF external electric fields.
Each electron in an ensemble of atoms acts as an extremely accurate RF antenna. Together, they make possible highly precise RF measurements far beyond what is possible with classical alternatives.