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Swati Singh, University of Delaware
When properly engineered, simple quantum systems such as harmonic oscillators or spins can be excellent detectors of feeble forces and fields. Following a general introduction to this fast growing area of research I will focus on using optomechanical systems as sensors of weak strain fields. We show that certain mechanical systems can compete with interferometric detectors and potentially surpass the gravitational strain limits set by them for pulsar sources within a few months of integration time. Additionally, dark matter particles coupling to standard model fields and particles would also produce a coherent strain signal in an elastic solid. We discuss the feasibility of searching for such scalar field couplings in the 10-12 eV - 10-8 eV mass range using various optomechanical systems. Along with exploring some fundamental problems in physics, I will show that in both cases understanding and addressing issues around quantum control are essential steps towards building quantum noise limited detectors.