Wednesday, January 11, 2023

Quantum imaging: Pushing the boundaries of optics

11:38 PM | ,

Quantum Imaging Potential: Fraunhofer QUILT Project

Welcome to a revolutionary breakthrough in optics—courtesy of the team. Quantum entanglement, a process where light particles (photons) intertwine their properties across distances and wavelength ranges, has been harnessed by the Fraunhofer researchers in an ambitious project named QUILT (Quantum Methods for Advanced Imaging Solutions). This groundbreaking work shatters conventional optics' limits by exploring invisible wavelength ranges and opening up new realms for imaging techniques, microscopy, and spectroscopy.

Quantum entanglement, a phenomenon once famously referred to as "spooky action at a distance" by Einstein, has been utilized to create and detect light waves that have been practically unreachable. These entangled photons function as the mechanism facilitating quantum optical solutions, revealing valuable data beyond the visible spectrum's luminescence. The possible applications are far-reaching, from unveiling minute cellular structures using short-wave ultraviolet radiation to identifying harmful gases or analyzing plastic compositions with infrared radiation. Further, long-wave terahertz radiation aids in accurately determining the thickness of coating and paint layers, proving beneficial in biomedical diagnostics, material testing, and process and environmental analytics.

The QUILT project, spearheaded by six Fraunhofer Institutes in collaboration with external organizations, has focused for four years on leveraging these entangled photon pairs for various measurement methods in imaging, spectroscopy, and metrology. This innovative approach enables capturing information from the invisible range by linking one photon with the object under investigation while the other is caught on camera. 

Throughout the project's duration, the team accomplished significant foundational work for scientific and technical growth in this relatively new domain. Their pioneering efforts have paved the way for the first-ever usage of the new detection principle for terahertz radiation, potentially enhancing future material investigation methods. In addition, the team developed a quantum optical counterpart to the classical Fourier-transform infrared (FTIR) spectrometer, frequently used in process analytics to examine gas samples. Other notable achievements include the first-ever video created using imaging with undetected light and the world's inaugural 2D image captured and reconstructed using "quantum ghost imaging" with asynchronous detection. 

he QUILT project's successful conclusion has led to seven granted patents, high-profile scientific publications, and prototypes for quantum-based imaging, spectroscopy, and optical tomography. The researchers plan to further explore unconventional application fields for quantum-based methods in collaboration with industry partners. Key areas of interest include innovative industrial sectors like environmental technology and medical engineering. 

To facilitate the international scientific community's idea exchange, the QUILT consortium launched an annual seminar series, "Sensing with Quantum Light," in 2018. This platform has since become a leading forum in the field. Join us at as we continue to delve into the fascinating world of quantum imaging and its ripple effects across various industries.

Written by Chatsonic

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