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Quantum Radar Coming Closer

Category: Science & Technology
Posted: 07:23AM

Science fiction has long been providing us with devices capable of seeing otherwise invisible objects, and some of these technologies have come to exist. In the future we may see a new technology emerge called quantum radar that puts quantum mechanics to work catching things we cannot see. Researchers at the University of York have recently built a prototype quantum radar system that has potential for finding low reflectively objects, such as cancer cells and stealth aircraft.

Traditional radar works by sending out a microwave signal and capturing what bounces back. Objects with low reflectivity pose a problem though, as little comes back, and if there is a lot of noise in the area, finding something is going to be even harder. Quantum radar however couples a microwave beam to an optical beam, making it much more sensitive to small reflections, even in a noisy environment. What the York researchers specifically did was develop a special converter for entangling the two beams, for emission, and converting the microwave beam into an optical beam, for collection.

The researchers do acknowledge that quantum radars are still a ways off, but they could have a large number of applications. This includes non-invasive biomedical applications for analyzing proteins and acids, which expose patients to less radiation thanks to the low number of photons being used.

Source: University of York

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