Scientists from IST Austria (Institute Of Science and Technology Austria) have unveiled their new creation: a novel radar prototype that makes of quantum entanglement as a way of detecting objects. Creating devices that successfully use quantum mechanics could have a consistent impact on the security and biomedical industries, among others. The research on the quantum radar is available in the scientific journal “Science Advances.”
How quantum entanglement works has puzzled scientists for many years. It is a process through which two particles stay connected, sharing the same physical traits no matter what the distance is between them.
Researchers under the supervision of Professor Johannes Fink, from the Institute of Science and Technology Austria, together with Stefano Pirandola, a researcher from the University of York and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) have made a discovery in the technological field of detection, called microwave quantum illumination.
The Quantum Radar Invention
This uses entangled microwave photons as a detection method. The product, called a quantum radar, can detect objects even in environments where regular radars usually fail, such as environments with many variations in temperature. There are many uses of this novel technology, such as highly efficient security scanners and very low power biomedical imaging.
Despite the complicated nature of quantum mechanics, the inner workings of this device are quite simple. It does not use regular microwaves, but instead, scientists entangle two different groups of photons, known as idler photons and signal photons. The idler photons are measured in isolation, without noise and interference. The signal photons, on the other hand, are reflected.
Once that reflection takes place, “true” entanglement between the two types of photons is lost, but they still exist enough correlation to create a pattern that can describe the presence or lack thereof of targeted objects, regardless of the noise found in the said environment, regarding the quantum radar.