News from the Chair

Magnetic Micro-Calorimeter

Magnetic   Micro-Calorimeter

This "Magnetic Micro-Calorimeter" is a device that can measure the energies of gamma rays with extreme accuracy.

It is important for Nuclear Safeguards and other applications.

Designed by Research Professor Steven Boyd's lab, fabricated by UNM and STAR Cryoelectronics of Santa Fe, NM, the device is currently being tested at Lawrence Livermore National Lab.

Magnetic   Micro-Calorimeter

The device works by taking advantage of quantum coherence and the extreme material properties that are available at low temperatures, within about 0.02 degrees of absolute zero. It uses a "superconducting quantum interference device" (SQUID) to sense the magnetization of erbium ions in a silver matrix.

Magnetic   Micro-Calorimeter

This creates a thermometer that is so sensitive that the heating caused by a single gamma-ray photon can be measured with high accuracy. This new approach improves our ability to measure gamma-ray energies by more than an order of magnitude compared to present technologies.

The International Atomic Energy Agency is now developing a new research project that will partner with our team to investigate the use of this new technique to keep the world a bit safer from nuclear weapons.

This research is funded by the US Department of Energy.

University of New Mexico
Department of Physics and Astronomy
1919 Lomas Blvd. NE
Albuquerque NM 87131-0001
505-277-2616
505-277-1520 fax