Defense Advanced Research Projects AgencyTagged Content List

Novel Sensing and Detection

Novel concepts and devices capable of detecting and monitoring physical phenomena

Showing 14 results for Sensors + Quantum RSS
Dr. John Burke joined DARPA as a Program Manager in the Microsystems Technology Office (MTO) in August 2017. His research interests include the development of high-stability, low-noise sensors and frequency synthesis to enable new positioning, navigation, and timing (PNT) and remote detection capabilities. He is particularly interested in the integration of modern atomic physics techniques (e.g. laser cooling and trapping) with photonic circuits and atom chips to reduce the complexity, cost, and size of these techniques while increasing their robustness and reliability for use outside of a laboratory environment.
Microelectromechanical systems, known as MEMS, are ubiquitous in modern military systems such as gyroscopes for navigation, tiny microphones for lightweight radios, and medical biosensors for assessing the wounded. Such applications benefit from the portability, low power, and low cost of MEMS devices. Although the use of MEMS sensors is now commonplace, they still operate many orders of magnitude below their theoretical performance limits. This is due to two obstacles: thermal fluctuations and random quantum fluctuations, a barrier known as the standard quantum limit.
The process of detecting light—whether with our eyes, cameras or other devices—is at the heart of a wide range of civilian and military applications, including light or laser detection and ranging (LIDAR or LADAR), photography, astronomy, quantum information processing, medical imaging, microscopy and communications. But even the most advanced detectors of photons—the massless, ghostlike packets of energy that are the fundamental units of light—are imperfect, limiting their effectiveness. Scientists suspect that the performance of light-based applications could improve by orders of magnitude if they could get beyond conventional photon detector designs—perhaps even to the point of being able to identify each and every photon relevant to a given application.
DARPA published its Young Faculty Award (YFA) 2018 Research Announcement today, seeking proposals in 26 different topic areas—the largest number of YFA research areas ever solicited.
Whether it is excited electrons emitting photons in a lightbulb or the vibrational frequency of atoms in an atomic clock, quantum phenomena are simultaneously fundamental aspects of nature and the basis of current state-of-the-art and future technologies. This is particularly the case as sensor and device performance continue to improve and approach their fundamental limits. It is not lost on DARPA that controlling quantum phenomena is an increasingly important challenge in the realm of national defense.