Quantum mechanics is an interesting field of science which has seen some remarkable progress in recent years. A new milestone has been achieved in this field in the form of the world’s first quantum radar.
Shabir Barzanjeh and his team from the Institute of Science and Technology, Australia, have successfully created the world’s first radar using entangled microwaves.
The radar can detect objects from a distance with the help of very few photons. This makes it stealthy as the radar is difficult to detect given the almost negligible amount of electromagnetic radiation it emits.
To design this quantum radar, researchers used a superconducting device called Josephson parametric converter to create a pair of entangled microwave photons.
When the first photon, called the signal photon, is beamed towards the object, it reflects and strikes the second photon (idler photon). The reflection from the first photon and its interference with the second photon creates a signature revealing the distance traveled by the first photon.
As compared to a conventional radar, the quantum radar overcomes the problem of operating at low power levels. At normal room temperatures, nearby objects emit their own microwaves which makes it difficult to record the returning echo. In the case of entangled photons, the signal photon, as well as the idler photon, are so similar that it is easy to detect the echo from the background noise.
Speaking about the applications of the quantum radar, Barzanjeh says, “Our experiment shows the potential as a non-invasive scanning method for biomedical applications, e.g., for imaging of human tissues or non-destructive rotational spectroscopy of proteins.”
It is a great achievement that could pave the way for short-range low-power radars that could be deployed in security measures in populated environments.