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Quantum SQUIDs Join Dark Matter Search

Seeqc wins contract to develop magnetometers that could discover the secrets of the early universe

Berenice Baker, Editor, Enter Quantum

April 11, 2024

2 Min Read
A sensor being constructed at SEEQC's foundry

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has awarded chipmaker and quantum computing company Seeqc a contract to produce technology to probe the universe’s deepest secrets.

Seeqc develops sensitive magnetometers called superconducting quantum interference devices (SQUIDs). They are used in quantum computing for qubit readout but also have applications in sensor readout, medical imaging and the search for dark matter by astronomers.

It is for this latter application that the Department of Energy has awarded Seeqc a $200,000 small business innovative research grant. The goal is to manufacture an ultra-sensitive SQUID amplifier that operates with low power and low noise for fundamental science research in dark matter, neutrino science and cosmology.

Scientists calculate that 27% of the universe's total mass-energy is dark matter but to date, its presence can only be implied by its gravitational effects. Improved detector technologies like Seeqc’s new SQUID design combined with novel theoretical insights may eventually lead to its direct detection.

Seeqc is working with Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory on a project that seeks discoveries to help scientists understand the beginning, history and makeup of the universe. The experiment will survey the sky for seven years with 496,000 cryogenically cooled superconducting detectors and 21 telescopes at the South Pole and in the Chilean Atacama Desert.

Related:Nvidia, SEEQC Partner for Quantum Supercomputing

“We believe this investment in SQUID design and manufacturing technology by the DOE will have profound effects,” said Seeqc CEO and co-founder John Levy.

“The cutting-edge work that is bringing us closer towards quantum computing is also creating technology spin-offs enriching other fields like cosmology and dark matter detection in the present, even before quantum's full long-term impact is realized.

“So while the ultimate goal is realizing powerful quantum computers, the R&D effort is concurrently yielding innovative technologies applicable to other domains now, similar to the way spinoffs from moonshot space projects result in technology that becomes indispensable in many other ways.”

About the Author(s)

Berenice Baker

Editor, Enter Quantum

Berenice is the editor of Enter Quantum, the companion website and exclusive content outlet for The Quantum Computing Summit. Enter Quantum informs quantum computing decision-makers and solutions creators with timely information, business applications and best practice to enable them to adopt the most effective quantum computing solution for their businesses. Berenice has a background in IT and 16 years’ experience as a technology journalist.

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