Physicists develop ‘quantum radar’ prototype to detect objects with entangled photons

Quantum physics has given scientists many interesting ideas, such as a research team at the Austrian Institute of Science and Technology (IST Austria) that introduced their “quantum radar” prototype. It is reported that quantum entanglement describes a strange state, no matter how far apart, a pair of entangled particles can be closely connected, real-time communication. Based on this, the team proposed a “quantum radar” prototype. In some scenarios, it is expected to outperform traditional radar.

Physicists develop 'quantum radar' prototype to detect objects with entangled photons

Schema (from: IST Austria)

Although we still don’t know how quantum entanglement works, that doesn’t stop scientists from actively exploiting this physical property.

In addition to highly confidential quantum network communications, physicists such as the Austrian Institute of Technology, mIT and the University of York have tried to apply this phenomenon to “quantum radar”.

Traditional radarworks by transmitting radio waves or microwaves and then receiving bounces of signals listening in all directions to clearly depict objects in a particular area.

The new ‘quantum radar’ works in the same way, but it emits light waves, not radio waves.

First, the researchers prepared a pair of entangled photons. One belongs to the “signal” photon, while the other is used as an “idler”.

When sending signal photons to the object being detected, the idler photons continue to be isolated without any interference. When the signal returns, it changes and has an immediate effect on the idler photons.

Based on this, the Quantum Radar device can determine whether a target object exists in the region by examining the idler photons.

When the signal is bounced, true quantum entanglement is lost between the two types of photons, but enough information is retained to create a signature feature (signature) that determines the object’s reading.

Despite the fragile process and the subsequent large number of experiments, the team said that in some cases, “quantum radars” performed better than classic radars.

Compared to low-power radars, this new technology can pick out target objects more efficiently from background noise. Shabir Barzanjeh, the paper, says:

We provide proof of the concept of microwave quantum radar, which has been able to detect objects with low reflectivity at room temperature using entanglement siones higher than absolute zero (-273.14 degrees C).

But in addition to improving radar systems, the new technology could eventually be used in areas such as safety scanners and medical imaging of human tissue.

Details of the study have been published in the recent journal Science Advances.

Originally published as Microwave quantum illumination using a digital receiver