Superconducting Quantum Interference Device (SQUID)

A superconducting quantum interference device (SQUID) is a mechanism used to measure extremely weak signals, such as subtle changes in the human body's electromagnetic energy field. Using a device called a Josephson junction, a SQUID can detect a change of energy as much as 100 billion times weaker than the electromagnetic energy that moves a compass needle. A Josephson junction is made up of two superconductors, separated by an insulating layer so thin that electrons can pass through. A SQUID consists of tiny loops of superconductors employing Josephson junctions to achieve superposition: each electron moves simultaneously in both directions. Because the current is moving in two opposite directions, the electrons have the ability to perform as qubits (that theoretically could be used to enable quantum computing). SQUIDs have been used for a variety of testing purposes that demand extreme sensitivity, including engineering, medical, and geological equipment. Because they measure changes in a magnetic field with such sensitivity, they do not have to come in contact with a system that they are testing.