An international research team led by University of York scientist Stefano Pirandola has developed a prototype quantum radar that could be used to detect objects that are invisible to conventional systems.
The hybrid system uses quantum correlation between microwave and optical beams to detect objects of low reflectivity, such as cancer cells or aircraft with stealth capability.
The key to the system is a type of converter, a double-cavity device that couples the microwave beam to an optical beam using a nano-mechanical oscillator. The device can either generate microwave-optical entanglement during the signal emission or convert a microwave into an optical beam during the collection of the reflection beams from the object.
Quantum radars operate more effectively than conventional radars and exploit quantum entanglement to enhance their sensitivity to detect small signal reflections from very noisy regions. Although they are not yet ready for mainstream use, quantum radars would offer superior performance, especially at the low-photon level, Pirandola says. He believes they could have a range of applications in biomedicine, including non-invasive nuclear magnetic resonance scans.
From University of York
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