Highlights from our experiments
› Microwave quantum illumination and short-range quantum radar ‹
Quantum entanglement is a physical phenomenon where two particles remain interconnected, sharing physical traits regardless of the distance between them. The Fink group and their QUARTET collaborators were able to harness this phenomenon for use in a new type of detection technology known as “microwave quantum illumination”. The prototype, also called a “quantum radar”, is able to detect objects with ultra-low power signals in noisy thermal environments where classical radar systems often fail.

Instead of using conventional microwaves, the team entangled two groups of photons: “signal” and “idler” photons. The signal photons are sent out towards the object of interest, while the idler photos are measured in relative isolation, free from interference and noise. When the signal photons are reflected back, true entanglement is lost, but a small amount of correlation remains, creating a signature or pattern that describes the existence or absence of the target object—irrespective of noise within the environment.

Johannes Fink and Shabir Barzanjeh at IST Austria

While the current experiment relies on post-processed correlations which restrict real-life applications, potential future applications will require the development of analog receivers for detection with high quantum efficiency

This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 862644

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